Revealed: Shooter of Temple Mount Activist Worked at Begin Center Cafe (VIDEO)
Mu’ataz Hijazi, the 32-year-old Islamic Jihad terrorist who tried to assassinate Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, was recently employed as a cook at a restaurant at the cultural center where Glick was shot, Israel’s Ch. 2 News said Thursday.
The Israel police are checking if Hijazi – who fled on a motorcycle after shooting Glick four times outside the Begin Heritage Center, across the Hinnom Valley from the Old City – also shot a soldier in the capital’s French Hill neighborhood several weeks ago.
According to unconfirmed reports, Israeli authorities informed Hijazi’s family that their home would be demolished within 24 hours, as a deterrent measure.
“Rabbi Glick had spoken at an event held in the evening at the Center,” according to a spokesperson at the facility. “The Center hosts numerous events each week, as it hires out its facilities, conference rooms and auditorium to outside groups. The Center did not host or sponsor the event, which was attended by leading politicians and other activists.”
Early Thursday, an Israeli SWAT team tracked down Hijazi – who had previously served 11 years in Israeli prisons for terrorism-related offenses – to his home in the city’s Silwan neighborhood, south of the Old City.
After entering the family home, police cornered him on the roof. Police say he opened fire first, and they returned fire, killing him.
“Released prisoner Mu’ataz Hijazi who was killed in an exchange of fire in Silwan was our activist,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.
“I’m happy I was released from prison, and even happier I returned to Jerusalem,” Hijazi said in an interview two years ago.
“I hope to be a thorn in the throat of the Zionist project to Judaize Jerusalem,” he said, according to Israel’s NRG News.
Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute condemned the shooting attack against its former director, Yehudah Glick.
Richman called the attack “a deliberate and calculated assassination attempt just moments after the conclusion of an annual conference on the subject of Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
“Yehudah is a selfless champion of the right for Jews to pray at the Temple Mount who works tirelessly towards this goal, and together with all of Israel, we are deeply concerned for his welfare, and in prayer for his speedy and complete recovery,” Richman said, and held the government and police responsible for the attempted assassination – the first such attack in the city since the shooting of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.
“Responsibility for this despicable act rests squarely upon the government of Israel and the Israel Police, who have allowed the Temple Mount, Israel’s holiest site, to degenerate into an arena that hosts daily occurrences of unbridled and heinous expressions of Jew-hatred. From organized, Hamas-funded incitement, to ambushes against Jewish visitors, to Molotov cocktails and rocks, to spray-painted swastika graffiti. While in the political arena, PA Chairman Abbas’s recent statement that Jewish visits should be stopped ‘by all means,’ and PM Netanyahu’s ‘assurances’ to Jordan’s King Abdullah that he will not allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount — all this has proven that violence against Jews pays and has paved the way to the attempted murder of Yehudah Glick,” Richman said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday morning convened a special meeting at his Jerusalem office with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Public Defense Minister Itzhak Aharonovitch, ISA [Shin Bet] Director Yoram Cohen, Israel Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino, Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edri, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and representatives from the Attorney General’s office, the Justice Ministry and the IDF.
“A few days ago, I said that we were facing a wave of incitement by radical Islamic elements and by Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen who said that Jews must be prevented from going up to the Temple Mount by any means possible,” Netanyahu said in a statement released by his bureau.
“I still have not heard from the international community so much as one word of condemnation for these inflammatory remarks. The international community needs to stop its hypocrisy and take action against inciters, against those who try to change the status quo,” Netanyahu demanded.
He said he had instructed security forces to add on “significant reinforcements so that we can maintain both security in Jerusalem and the status quo in the holy places. This struggle might be long, and here, like in other struggles, we must first of all, lower the flames. No side should take the law into its own hands. We must be level-headed and act with determination and responsibility, and so we shall.”
Watch Netanyahu’s statement on Glick:
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President Reuven Rivlin, who returned from a state visit to Poland late last night, said “I wish to offer my prayers that Yehudah Glick should have a full and speedy recovery, and send my support to his family.”
Glick remains in critical condition at the city’s Sha’are Tzedek Medical Center, according to news reports as of Thursday afternoon.
“This brutal attempted murder last night in Jerusalem, marks a further escalation of violence and terrorism in the city,” Rivlin said. “From the moment I landed from Poland, I have followed with concern the developments, and this morning, I have extended to the Special Police Unit, along with the police and intelligence organizations my support for their rapid and targeted actions.
“Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel, we cannot tolerate the existence of terrorism in the city. We must act forcefully and without hesitation against the perpetrators. At moments such as these, it is crucial we are not dragged into a dangerous whirlpool of emotions. We must allow our security forces to act to bring to justice the terrorist organizations who participated in this crime.”