JERUSALEM. — Israel’s government has been quick to suggest a Palestinian who rammed a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers at the weekend was inspired by Islamic State, raising questions over how it came to that conclusion.
Hours after the attack on Sunday, which killed four soldiers and wounded 17, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the assailant showed all the signs of being a supporter of the ultra-hardline Sunni movement.
He did not give details and on Monday, an obscure Palestinian group claimed responsibility, saying it had no outside links and had acted on political motives.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had also pointed to Islamic State, citing parallels with Islamic State-inspired attacks on crowds using trucks in Germany and France last year.
“We saw it in France, we saw it in Berlin and unfortunately we saw it today in Jerusalem,” he said during a visit to the scene overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City.
The group which said it was responsible for the attack gave few details and it was not possible to verify the claim, but in Israel, multiple voices pointed out the differences between Palestinian violence and that perpetrated by Islamic State.
While Islam may inspire some Palestinian assailants, political motivations around Israel’s occupation and the long-running conflict remain the dominant factor, they said, suggesting the government was seeking to downplay politics.
“Palestinian attacks are overwhelmingly motivated by nationalism, not by religion,” said Orit Perlov, a social media expert and research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. – Reuters