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Family of missing soldier urges government not to return Jerusalem gunman's body

Oron Shaul (L) and Hadar Goldin (R)
Judge who delayed incarceration of gunman faces criticism and calls for dismissal

The family of Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in summer 2014 are urging the Israeli government not to return the body of the Palestinian who carried out Sunday's shooting attack in Jerusalem as long as the Hamas terror group refuses to return the remains of their son, Israel's Channel 2 reports.

Goldin's body, along with that of another soldier, Oron Shaul, is still being held by Hamas, which hopes to use them in order to bargain for the release of its own prisoners in Israeli jails.

Two people were killed and six wounded in the attack. The victims who were killed were named as 60-year-old Lavana Malihi and 29-year-old policeman Yosef Kirma.

The family said in a statement that "the Israeli government has another chance at leverage against Hamas, in the form of the terrorist who murdered Lavana Malichi and Officer Joseph Kirma."

The terrorist has become a "Palestinian national hero, and Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh praise him," the statement continued, adding that they are convinced that "only through using significant pressure against Hamas may we bring Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul back to Israel."

Police spokesperson

Following the attack Hamas praised the gunman said it was "a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation." While not going as far as directly taking responsibility, the group announced that the attacker was "one of ours."

Sunday's attack took place next to Jerusalem's police headquarters close to the Ammunition Hill light rail stop. Police said that the gunman driving in a car came to a nearby junction, opened fire and hit passersby.

The suspect then fled the scene, driving in the direction of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood when a police motorcycle force chased after his vehicle. When the terrorist saw the officers, he opened fire in their direction. The officers shot back at the suspect and killed him.

It was later revealed that the gunman, whose identity remains under gag order, was due to report to jail the same day he carried out the shooting after being granted permission by the court to delay his incarceration for assaulting a police officer in 2013.

Judge Hagit Mack Kalmanovich, who approved the postponement, came under fire by Likud lawmaker Yehuda Glick and Michah Avni, whose father was killed in a Jerusalem shooting and stabbing attack in October 2015.

Glick slammed Kalmanovich saying she had been "cruel to the merciful and merciful to the cruel" while Avni called the decision "one of the most serious failures in the judicial history of Israel."

"As a result, you postponed the arrest of a terrorist for four months, the same terrorist that killed two Jews yesterday and injured many others." Glick said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Menahem Kahana (AFP)

Avni called for Kalmanovich's appointment to be revoked due to the fact that her ruling directly compromised national security and led to the loss of human life.

"Security forces are working day and night risking their lives to protect Israeli citizens only to discover that forgiving judges in Jerusalem are letting terrorists free," Avni said, according to the Post, adding that "security forces are losing their faith in the judicial system and Israel."

Gunman's daughter praises attack

Meanwhile, the daughter of the gunman praised the actions of her father in a video released through Palestinian media.

"Our Father will be with God tonight at the entrance to paradise," she said. "We are very happy and proud of what he did."

His family passed out sweets in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem in celebration of the attack. In Gaza similar celebrations took place.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri told the Jerusalem Post daily that additional special forces would be deployed around Jerusalem during the holiday's in case the uptick in violence continues.

“We are calling up forces especially for Succot and Yom Kippur to protect the general public’s security and feeling of security,” she told the Post. “We are continuing in normal life. But the other side is, we also make efforts for the citizens to respond to every suspicious person or suspicious car. There are no changes in the routine of life, there are no special instructions.”

Mohammad Al Kassim/ i24news

Read more:

- US Muslim leaders to Hamas: 'Return Shaul and Goldin to Israel'


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