- At around 21:00 on April 7, 2022, a Palestinian armed with a handgun went to a crowded bar on Dizengoff Street in the center of Tel Aviv. He shot at patrons sitting at tables outside, killing two, mortally wounding a third and wounding six others, three of them critically. The terrorist, a Palestinian from the Jenin refugee camp, fled the scene. He was located the following morning near a mosque in Jaffa, and was shot and killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli security forces.
- It was the fourth deadly terrorist attack in an Israeli city in two and a half weeks. The attacks killed 14 people and wounded scores more. All four were carried out by lone-wolf terrorists who were not operatives of established terrorist organizations. Two were carried out by Israeli Arabs who identified with ISIS ideology and two by Palestinians from the Jenin region who were affiliated with the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military-terrorist wing. No connection was found linking the attacks, but they may have shared a common inspiration.
- Immediately after the attack in Tel Aviv the Israeli security forces began detaining suspects in the Jenin region, searching for weapons and apprehending members of the terrorist’s family. Israel also announced steps restricting the residents of the Jenin district, while the rest of Judea and Samaria would be allowed to continue enjoying the measures put in place by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz for the Palestinians during the Muslim religious month of Ramadan.
- The attack in Tel Aviv, on its main and most famous street, was extensively covered by the Palestinian media, which quoted the Israeli media’s documenting of the efforts of the Israeli security forces to apprehend the terrorist, efforts mocked by the Palestinians. The Palestinian media reported the terrorist attack and the subsequent Israeli security force activities in Jenin as a Israeli failure. They reported that special forces had been rushed to the scene of the attack and gloated that a curfew had been imposed on the city, glorifying the terrorist and his family as representing the spirit of the “resistance.”
- The terrorist who carried out the attack, apparently on his own initiative, was affiliated with the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military-terrorist wing (as was the terrorist who carried out the attack in Bnei Brak). However, while the organization issued a mourning notice for the attacker, it did not claim responsibility for the attack.
- Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman, apparently in response to external pressure, issued a weak, general condemnation of Palestinian and Israeli deaths. The reactions of Fatah itself to the attack were supportive, including from the movement’s leadership and its senior figures close to the PA. Akram Rajoub, the governor of the Jenin district and a Fatah member, paid a condolence call to the terrorist’s family, accompanied by members of the PA’s security forces. He called the terrorist a “Fatah fighter.”
- Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) continued encouraging the residents of Judea and Samaria to carry out terrorist attacks but so far have been careful not to carry out attacks from the Gaza Strip. PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah said his organization could decide to respond from the Gaza Strip within a matter of hours (al-Mayadeen, April 10, 2022).
- At around 21:00 on April 7, 2022, a Palestinian armed with a handgun, later identified as Raad Fathi Zidan Hazzam, 29, from the Jenin refugee camp, went to a bar on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv and shot 12 bullets point-blank at patrons sitting at tables outside. He killed two, mortally wounded a third, and wounded six others, three of them critically. He then fled the scene, and Israeli security forces began searching for him. Early the following morning, about eight hours after the attack, he was located near a mosque in Jaffa, and was shot and killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli security forces. According to the Israeli ministry of defense he was not known to the security services and did not belong to a terrorist organization.
- The locating and killing of the terrorist was widely covered by media outlets. The Palestinian media rushed to publish his name and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Fatah’s military-terrorist wing, was quick to report he was one of their operatives and to issue a mourning notice. They described the attack as “a natural response to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people” (al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades Telegram channel, April 8, 2022).
The scene of the attack in Tel Aviv. (Right: Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 7, 2022. Left: Shehab Twitter account, April 10, 2022)
- The terrorist was Raad Fathi Zidan Hazzam, 29, from the Jenin refugee camp (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 8, 2022). Investigation revealed he had entered Israel through a breach in the security fence in the Jenin region, was driven to Umm al-Fahm and from there took a bus to Tel Aviv. He apparently went to a mosque in Jaffa before going to Tel Aviv to carry out the attack. He arrived on Dizengoff Street about half an hour before he started shooting, sitting on a bench across from the bar for about twenty minutes and then opening fire. It is suspected that he had assistance (Israeli media, April 9, 2022).
Right: Raad Hazzam (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 8, 2022). Left: Raad Hazzam (al-Alam TV, April 8, 2022)
- Atta Abu Rumila, Fatah secretary in Jenin, read a mourning notice to a crowd in Jenin while standing on a balcony in the terrorist’s house. He said Fatah in Jenin and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades mourned the death of one of their senior operatives, Raad Fathi Hazzam (Fatah Media website, April 8, 2022).
Right: Atta Abu Rumila reads the Fatah mourning notice. Left: The Fatah mourning notice issued for “the heroic shaheed Raad Abu Hazzam” (Fatah Media website, April 8, 2022)
- The terrorist’s father, a retired high-ranking officer in the Palestinian security forces, praised his son, saying he had become a shaheed while fasting after having attended the morning prayer at the mosque in Jaffa. Speaking from the balcony of his house in the Jenin refugee camp to a large crowd of assembled Palestinians, he said the Palestinian people were not interested in [Israeli] measures to make their lives easier, but rather in liberty and independence. The Palestinian people, he said, demanded al-Aqsa mosque and to be able to pray there without fear or worry. The Palestinian people, he added, were looking for bread and respect, not for a permit [to enter Israel to work] (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 8, 2022).
The terrorist’s father gives a speech from his balcony
(Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 8, 2022)
- The residents of the refugee camp called Hazzam “the cyber” because of his computer and social network skills. He was one of eight children, and his family is known for its history of combatting Israel. His father was prominent during the first intifada, was wounded and detained by Israel. When the PA was established he served as a colonel in its security forces until he took early retirement. His cousin is married to Bassem al-Saadi, a senior PIJ figure (aljazeera.net, April 8, 2022). His father also referred to his son’s computer skills, and claimed that the day before the attack he ate the fast-breaking meal with them (Shehab, April 8, 2022).
Responses to the Terrorist Attack
- As soon as news of the attack, the deaths of two Israelis and the wounding of several more reached the Palestinians, they began pouring into the streets of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip to celebrate. They distributed baklava and candy to passersby, blared their horns, waved flags, sang songs and shouted for joy. The attack was widely covered by the Palestinian media with constant reminders that it was the fourth attack in an Israeli city. Even the terrorist’s capture by the Israeli security forces was widely reported.
A Hamas operative in Tubas hands out candy. Left: A Palestinian in Ramallah hands out candy (Paldf Twitter account, April 7, 2022)
- Some of the Palestinian media published cartoons mocking the IDF for its failure to prevent the attack and capture the terrorist (al-Quds, April 9, 2022).
Right: The Palestinian daily newspaper al-Quds mocks the Israeli security forces after the attack (al-Quds, April 9, 2022). Left: The attack was a gift from “Palestine”(Alaa’ al-Laqta’s Facebook page, April 7, 2022)
- Mahmoud Abbas reissued the condemnation published in his name after the terrorist attack in Bnei Brak on March 29, 2022. He said he condemned the killing of Israeli civilians in the heart of Tel Aviv, claiming that the PA was doing its best to preserve stability, especially during Ramadan and the upcoming Jewish holidays. He reiterated the danger of an invasion of al-Aqsa mosque and the provocations of the extremist settlers, and warned Israel not to exploit the situation for attacks and other actions against Palestinians carried out by settlers (Wafa, April 8, 2022). The Israeli media reported that Mahmoud Abbas had again been pressured into issuing a condemnation by Israel and the United States (Israeli media, April 9, 2022). (The condemnation was identical in content to the one following the attack in Bnei Brak. However, it was issued in the morning, only after the terrorist had been killed, not the same evening, as had been the case of the Bnei Brak attack.)
Mahmoud Abbas’ condemnation of the attack (Wafa, April 9, 2022)
- The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades announced it mourned the terrorist’s death and claimed he had been one of its operatives. It also called the attack the “natural reaction” to Israel’s “crimes” against the Palestinian people, the most recent of which was the killing of a Palestinian in Jenin (al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades Telegram channel, April 8, 2022). A mourning tent was erected and hung with Fatah flags.
- Munir al-Jaghoub, responsible for propaganda in Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization, issued a notice of support for terrorist attacks. It featured a rifle integrated into the word “Fatah” and a call for revenge (apparently in the name of terrorist Raad Hazzam) (Munir al-Jaghoub’s Twitter account, April 8, 2022).
Notice of support for terrorism issued by Munir al-Jaghoub
(Munir al-Jaghoub’s Twitter account, April 8, 2022)
- Akram al-Rajoub, governor of the Jenin district, accompanied by several Palestinian security force officers, arrived at the joint mourning tent erected for Raad Hazzam and the PIJ terrorist killed in an Israeli security force activity in Jenin (the two terrorists were related). Al-Rajoub called the terrorist a “Fatah fighter,” claiming the bullets of the “occupation” had not distinguished between him and his friend. He said they did not distinguish between one color and another or between “resistance” fighters who fought against the “occupation.” No one, he said, had a monopoly on the “resistance,” which was open to all Palestinians regardless of their [organizational] affiliation (Akram al-Rajoub’s Facebook page, April 9, 2022).
Right: Akram al-Rajoub gives a speech at the joint mourning tent in Jenin. Left: Akram al-Rajoub with the heads of the PA security forces in the mourning tent
(Akram al-Rajoub’s Facebook page, April 9, 2022)
- Hamas rejoiced over the “heroic action” in Tel Aviv which had led to the deaths of “occupation” soldiers and settlers. It was, claimed Hamas, the “natural and legitimate [sic] reaction to Israel’s escalation.” Hamas organized a demonstration in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip to celebrate, where participants carried pictures of Hamas founder and former leader Ahmed Yassin, former senior Hamas figure Salah Shehade, and signs bearing the name of Muhammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’ military-terrorist wing (Paldf Twitter account, April 8, 2022). Hamas issued its condolences, calling on young Palestinians to continue the “resistance,” to confront Israel in every location and to set roadblocks on fire. It also mentioned that the “resistance” would defend al-Aqsa mosque with all its force (Hamas website, April 8, 2022).
The march organized by Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip (Paldf Twitter account, April 8, 2022)
- Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, called Raad Hazzam’s father to praise his son’s “heroic action” for the sake of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque (Hamas website, April 8, 2022). Hamas spokesman Musheir al-Masri said the “resistance” actions were the legitimate [sic] response to Israel’s “crimes” against the Palestinian people. He claimed they showed the “resistance” was capable of overcoming Israel’s security measures (al-Jazeera, April 8, 2022). Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua called the attack a blow to Israeli security (Hamas website, April 8, 2022).
- The Turkish and Bahraini embassies in Israel condemned the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, leading Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem to criticize them, claiming that an action of “up to four people” was “a legitimate resistance action against the occupation” and that the “right” to carry it out did not violate international law [sic] (al-Mayadeen, April 8, 2022).
- The PIJ praised the attack and welcomed the “excellent act of sacrifice.” The return of “self-sacrifice” deep inside Israel, claimed the PIJ, were the result of Israel’s aggression, which went beyond all limits. It promised that Israel would continue paying the price for its “crimes.” The PIJ also issued an official mourning notice praising the terrorist for “one of the resistance’s strongest actions,” which shocked Israel and exposed the fragility of the heart of Tel Aviv. The organization called for more attacks and to use this one as a model (PIJ Telegram channel, April 8, 2022).
- PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah congratulated the terrorist’s father. He said an entire country had been “stood on its feet” thanks to one jihad fighter (Filastin al-Yawm, April 8, 2022). Senior PIJ figure Muhammad al-Hindi called the attack in Tel Aviv a blow to Israel’s security establishment (Paltoday, April 8, 2022).
Hezbollah and Iran
- The residents of the villages in south Lebanon expressed joy after the terrorist attack. Hezbollah praised the operative who had “humiliated Israel” and exposed its helplessness to deal with one Palestinian fighter. According to Hezbollah, the “Palestinian resistance” had proved it could confront Israel and respond to its “crimes” where it least expected, inside Israel. The attack had discovered Israel’s weakness and revealed the confusion of its security bodies, and Hezbollah called on the Arab-Muslim nation to stand with the Palestinian people and support it in every way possible (Hezbollah’s combat propaganda Telegram channel, April 8, 2022).
- Sayid Khatib Zada, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said the attack in Tel Aviv was part of the fight against Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, and he expressed support for the Palestinian actions (Press TV, April 8, 2020).
Israeli Security Force Activities Following the Attack
- Immediately after the attack Israel closed the Gilboa Crossing, which links Jenin and Israel. The Crossing stands at the head of Jenin’s main economic and commercial thoroughfare, and thousands of Israeli Arabs pass through it every day to shop in the local markets. The closing was meant to exert economic pressure on the region, a significant amount of whose commercial activity is based on Israeli shoppers. Israel also prevented Palestinians from the Jenin district from going to al-Aqsa mosque for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan. However, the IDF did not impose a full closure on Judea and Samaria or prevent Palestinians from coming to Israel to work or pray on the Temple Mount. In response, the leaders of the towns and villages in Judea and Samaria announced they would organize transportation to Jenin to encourage local commerce (Twitter account of the Salfit municipality, April 10, 2022).
- The Palestinians reported that for security reasons the Israeli Prison Service would not allow relatives of prisoners from Jenin to visit them. According to the Palestinians, tensions in the Israeli jails were very high (Filastin al-Yawm, April 10, 2022).
- Immediately after the terrorist attack, residents of the Jenin refugee camp began preparing for a possible Israeli security force activity inside the camp. On April 8, 2022, the al-‘Amoudi Battalion of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades announced it had carried out an operation in response to an IDF operation, later claiming responsibility for a shooting attack at the IDF base in Mt. Gerizim (near Nablus) on the night of April 9, 2022 (al-‘Amoudi Battalion Telegram channel, April 10, 2022). In reality no such shooting attack was carried out.
Israeli security force activity in Jenin
- On the morning of April 9, 2022, Israeli security forces began operations in the Jenin refugee camp, the home of terrorist Raad Hazzam. They entered the refugee camp and went to the terrorist’s house, where an engineering force mapped it in preparation for demolition. While in the camp the forces were attacked by Palestinian gunfire. An exchange of fire developed, resulting in the death of a Palestinian. The ministry of health in Ramallah reported 13 Palestinians had been wounded (Dunia al-Watan Telegram channel, April 9, 2022).
Right: Armed terrorist operatives shoot at Israeli security forces in the Jenin refugee camp (Shehab Twitter account, April 9, 2022). Left: Terrorists detonate an IED during the Israeli activity in the refugee camp (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 9, 2022)
- The Jenin Battalions of the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing issued a mourning notice for Ahmed Nasser al-Saadi, 23. They called for the continuation of the “resistance” [i.e., terrorist attacks] at all cost (Jenin Battalion’s Telegram channel, April 9, 2022). Al-Saadi had been wounded in the past during an exchange of fire with IDF forces in the refugee camp and was wanted by the Israeli security forces (Shehab Twitter account, April 9, 2022). A funeral was held for him in the Jenin refugee camp where mourners chanted slogans calling for shooting attacks and against Israel (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 9, 2022).
Right: Ahmed al-Saadi (Shehab website, April 9, 2022). Left: The funeral held for Ahmed al-Saadi in the Jenin refugee camp (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 9, 2022)
- According to the Palestinian media, the Israeli security forces unsuccessfully attempted to detain relatives of the terrorist for interrogation, especially his father. His father told the Palestinian media they would not surrender or turn themselves in. He also paid a condolence call to the family of the terrorist killed by the IDF, whose father had been an officer in the security forces. Munir al-Jaghoub, in charge of propaganda for Fatah’s bureau of mobilization and organization, posted a picture to his Twitter account of the two fathers. He wrote, “Both fathers were officers in the Palestinian security forces…This is the school of the Palestinian security forces, from whose officers’ buildings fighters leave… [sic]” (Munir al-Jaghoub’s Twitter account, April 9, 2022).
Right: A senior Fatah figure praises the fathers of the terrorists from Jenin, noting that in the past they were both officers in the Palestinian security forces (Twitter account of Munir al-Jaghoub, April 9, 2022). Left: The father of terrorist Raad Hazzam (right) consoles the father of Ahmed al-Saadi (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, April 9, 2022)
- The Palestinians described the withdrawal of the Israeli forces after the operation in Jenin as a “retreat” caused by the “resistance” of the camp’s armed men. Hamas praised the “heroes of the resistance” in the Jenin refugee camp who had defended the shaheed’s family and the city. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Israel’s aggression against the Jenin refugee camp would not restore Israel’s lost respect. Hamas called for the “struggle” to be escalated in the West Bank streets (Hamas website, April 9, 2022). The Iranian social networks reported on the events in Jenin. The Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen devoted extensive coverage to the developments in Jenin and reported the exchanges of fire between armed Palestinians and Israeli forces.
Israeli security force activity in the village of Ya’bad
- On the night of April 9, 2022, Israeli security forces carried out detentions and searches for weapons in Ya’bad, the village of the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the shooting attack in Bnei Brak on March 29, 2022. Eight Palestinians wanted to terrorist activities were detained. IDF ammunition and uniforms were found in the house of one of the suspects. In another, an IED. While the activities were in progress Palestinians rioted, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the forces. A Palestinian who threw an IED was detained. No Israeli casualties were reported (IDF spokesman, April 10, 2022).
IDF activity in Ya’bad (IDF spokesman, April 10, 2022)
Further security force activity in Jenin, Ya’bad and Tulkarm
- On the morning of April 10, 2022, IDF forces again operated in Jenin, detaining about 20 wanted Palestinians and seizing weapons. They mapped the house of the terrorist who carried out the attack in Tel Aviv in preparation for demolishing it. During the activity armed Palestinians rioted and shot at the forces from several locations. In the exchange of fire a Palestinian armed with an M-16 assault rifle was killed. Another Palestinian was seriously wounded and evacuated for medical treatment (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, April 10, 2022).
Right: Weapon used to shoot at the Israeli security forces. Left: The damage to the IDF vehicle (Israel Police Force spokesman’s unit, April 9, 2022)
- On other occasions in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley Israeli security forces detained about twenty wanted Palestinians. In Jenin and the nearby area they detained three wanted Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. Two wanted Palestinians suspected of terrorist activity were detained in Tulkarm (IDF spokesman, April 10, 2022).
Detention of suspects (IDF spokesman, April 10, 2022).
- On the afternoon of April 10, 2022, a suspicious vehicle was sighted near the home of the terrorist who carried out the attack in Tel Aviv. Two of his brothers were inside. IDF fighters were deployed and shot at and hit the tires, but they managed to drive away. The forces shot at a Palestinian riding a motorcycle who had shot at the fighters (IDF spokesman, April 10, 2022).
- The PA ministry of information announced that the mosques in the Jenin refugee camp had declared a general alert to withstand a possible IDF entry (al-Jazeera, April 10, 2022). Operatives in all the mosques in Judea and Samaria were called to leave after the prayer ending the fast and to go out into the streets and march in support of Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp, and to confront Israelis at friction points (al-Risalah, April 10, 2022).
- On April 11, 2022, the ministry of health in Ramallah reported the death of Muhammad Hussein Zakarna, 17, from Jenin, who had been critically wounded in a clash with IDF forces in Jenin. He was buried in Jenin that morning. Anti-Israeli slogans were chanted at his funeral. His body was wrapped for burial in the Palestinian flag (Wafa, April 11, 2022). Fatah declared a general strike in the city to mourn his death (Wafa, April 11, 2022).
Muhammad Zakarna (Wafa, April 11, 2022)
Reactions to the Israeli security forces’ activities
- The PA foreign ministry condemned “Israel’s escalation,” claiming its activities were part an attempt to replace the political solution with solutions which exposed the truth, namely that there was no Israeli partner for peace. The foreign ministry said Israel would bear the consequences of its “escalation,” claiming that Israel was trying to turn the political struggle into a religious one (Wafa, April 9, 2022). The Palestinian terrorist organizations said in a joint announcement that the “activities” in Jenin represented all the Palestinians and that the “resistance” was the right of all Palestinians (al-Risalah, April 9, 2022).
- Mai al-Kayla, PA minister of health, visited Palestinians who had been wounded by the IDF in the Jenin refugee camp and hospitalized in the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin. She was accompanied by Akram Rajoub, governor of the Jenin district. They also went to offer their condolences to Ahmed al-Saadi’s father (ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, April 10, 2022).
Mai al-Kayla and Akram Rajoub visit the wounded. Left: A condolence call
(ministry of health in Ramallah Facebook page, April 10, 2022)
- Hussein al-Sheikh, PA minister of civilian affairs and a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, said the lack of a political horizon coupled with the escalation on the ground, as well as the settlements, the violence of the settlers and the “invasion” of the Temple Mount compound pushed the situation towards escalation, all of it in the shadow of hopelessness and the loss of security and faith. He said there was no alternative to a political solution based on international law to end the “occupation” (Hussein al-Sheikh’s Twitter account, April 10, 2022).
- Hamas formally issued its support for the “jihad fighters of Jenin,” calling for the escalation of the “struggle” against Israel throughout the West Bank (Hamas Telegram channel, April 9, 2022). Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, called the terrorist’s father and condemned Israel’s “invasion of Jenin.” He said the Palestinian people would adhere to the “resistance” in the wake of “Zionist terrorism” (Hamas website, April 9, 2022). Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua said the Palestinian people were prepared for all combat against Israel and called on Palestinians to “set the West Bank on fire” (al-Mayadeen, April 9, 2022). Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the “struggle” against Israel had to remain open and be waged in all the forms of “resistance” throughout the West Bank. “The occupation,” he said, would have to pay for its “crimes.” He called on the “men of the resistance” in the West Bank to take action, even if it led to martyrdom (Shehab, April 9, 2022).
- The PIJ condemned Israel’s actions, stressing that the unity of the Palestinian people had to be preserved (Filastin al-Yawm Telegram channel, April 10, 2022). Senior PIJ figure Khader Adnan said the IDF’s “invasion” of Jenin was an attempt to improve Israel’s image after the attack in Tel Aviv, and he called on all the men of the “resistance” and the Palestinian public in the West Bank to unite against Israel (al-Mayadeen, April 9, 2022). PIJ spokesman Tareq al-Din said the Palestinian people and the “resistance” [i.e., the terrorist organizations] were united in the “struggle” against Israel. He threatened Israel, warning that the current escalation would lead to another escalation and that the “resistance” would not sit idly by while it happened. He said the objective of the IDF activity in the Jenin refugee camp had been to improve Israel’s image, and he threatened that Israel would pay a high price for its actions. The PIJ, he said, would not remain silent in the face of Israel’s actions and would meet its responsibility to defend Islam’s holy sites. Israel, he said, had to understand and choose between escalation and calm (Shehab Twitter account, April 9, 2022)