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Hamas and IS both say they killed policewoman

Hamas and IS both say they killed policewoman

Both Islamic State and Hamas have said they were to blame for the killing of an Israeli policewoman in Jerusalem.

Staff Sergeant Major Hadas Malka was fatally stabbed as assailants launched two attacks simultaneously near Damascus Gate in the Old City on Friday.

Police said two of the perpetrators opened fire and tried to stab a group of officers, while the 23-year-old policewoman was attacked nearby and died of her injuries.

The trio were all shot dead at the scene.

A second Israeli officer was wounded.

If IS’s claim of involvement was true, it would be its first direct action against Israel.

A statement issued by its Amaq news agency said: “Let the Jews expect the demise of their entity at the hands of the Caliphate soldiers.”

It described the attack as “revenge for God’s religion and for the violated sanctities of Muslims”.

But a senior Hamas official, and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said the attackers were their members.

Hamas’ Izzat El-Reshiq wrote on Twitter: “The three hero martyrs who executed the Jerusalem operation have no connection to Daesh, they are affiliated with the PFLP and Hamas.”

An Israeli policeman outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City
Officers are investigating the assaults

The PFLP said two of the attackers were its members in a separate statement: “The media office of the PFLP armed wing mourns two of its hero comrades, two freed prisoners.”

So far, however, police spokeswoman Luba Simri said the Israeli military had not found any connection between the three attackers and any armed group.

“It was a local cell,” Ms Simri said. “At this stage no indication has been found it was directed by terrorist organisations nor has any connection to any organisation been found.”

Thirty-eight Israelis, two American tourists and a British student have been killed in shootings, car-rammings and stabbings since a wave of Palestinian street attacks began in October 2015.

Many have taken place in the vicinity of Damascus Gate.

At least 252 Palestinians and one Jordanian citizen have also been killed since the violence started.

Of those, at least 170 were carrying out attacks, Israel says.

Others have died during protests and clashes.

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