Islamic State claims responsibility after gunmen kill 2 police officers in Israel

Two Arab gunmen on Sunday killed two policemen on a street in Israel and were shot dead, as the US secretary of state and three Arab foreign ministers traveled to the country for a summit.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its Telegram account.

The two assailants in Hadera, a town about 50 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, were Arab citizens of Israel and sympathizers with the group, Israeli security officials said.

“We condemn today’s terrorist attack in Hadera, Israel,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter. “Such senseless acts of violence and murder have no place in society. We stand with our Israeli partners and extend our condolences to the families of the victims.”

The attack comes five days after an Arab from southern Israel killed at least four Israelis in a series of stabbing and car-ramming attacks in the city of Beersheba , before being shot by a passerby.

The wreckage of a car used by the gunmen is seen on a main street in Hadera on Sunday. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

Surveillance camera footage broadcast on Israeli television showed two men opening fire with assault rifles on a main street in Hadera, raising fears in Israel of a wave of such attacks.

Two members of the Israeli paramilitary Border Police were killed by the attackers, police said. The two gunmen were shot dead by police who were dining at a nearby restaurant.

“Fortunately, our officers managed to neutralize the attackers and prevent a larger terrorist attack,” national police spokesman Eli Levy told Israeli Kan TV.

In the Negev desert in southern Israel, the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, three countries that normalized relations with Israel in 2020, met for a summit attended by Blinken .

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid “briefed the foreign ministers attending the Negev summit on the details of the terrorist attack in Hadera,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted.

Israeli Border Police secured the area after Hadera’s attack on Sunday. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

“All foreign ministers condemned the attack and asked to send their condolences to the families of the victims and their wishes of recovery for the injured,” the ministry said.

Israeli security officials have warned of an escalation in attacks on Israelis ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in April – a volatile time in the past.

King Abdullah of Jordan is due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank on Monday in what is widely seen in Israel as an attempt to ease tensions ahead of the holiday season, which also includes Easter and Passover.