Kafr Qasim mayor defends attendance at funeral of suspected terrorist

The mayor of Kafr Qasim on Sunday defended his participation in the overnight funeral of a local man who police said was shot dead while carrying out a terror attack, telling the media he attended the burial in order to ensure the event passed off peacefully.

Major Adel Badir also continued to question whether the incident was indeed a terror attack, saying that further investigation was required to determine what had happened.

Badir was criticized for his attendance the night before at the funeral procession for Naim Badir, whose body was handed over to his family by Israel in exchange for a promise to hold a small, quiet funeral with no more than 50 people.

Naim Badir was shot dead by police on Friday in what the force said was an attack involving an attempted shooting and then a car-ramming of officers in the Arab city, east of Tel Aviv.

There was no word on a family connection between the mayor and the suspected terrorist.

Shas party leader Aryeh Deri, who is set to become interior minister in the emerging government, slammed the mayor for showing up at the funeral.

“Seeing is not believing!” Deri wrote on Twitter. “Instead of condemning the terror attack carried out in his city and inquiring after the welfare of those who were injured, a mayor… chose to participate in the funeral of a loathsome terrorist who cruelly ran over and shot at an officer and two policemen operating in the city. A disgrace.”

Badir told the Kan public broadcaster that he attended the funeral after coordinating with police and security officials, with the intention of maintaining public order. He insisted he was not there to show support for the alleged act of terror.

Badir said he trusted the police to find out what had motivated Naim Badir and suggested possible explanations such as the suspect’s difficult childhood or recent personal troubles.

“[The attack] may have been carried out for criminal, mental, or security [terror] reasons,” he said.

The funeral of alleged terrorist Naim Badir in Kafr Qasim on December 25, 2022. (Screenshot: Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

“This is a very serious incident, regardless of the background, but the man’s motive has yet to be established,” Badir told Channel 12.

“Naim recently went through a mental and financial crisis and it is possible that he felt threatened or even took pills – it could be anything,” he said. “His family also confirms that in the last two weeks he has been in poor mental and financial condition” and may have been involved in a dispute with other people.

Badir’s family initially strongly denied the incident was an attack, accusing the police of “murdering our son in cold blood.”

However, speaking to Kan, Badir said the family now condemns what happened. He also said the family had no past ties to terrorist elements.

Police released extensive video footage and audio from the scene to back up their assertion that the incident was a terror attack.

The police footage starts with CCTV footage of the entrance to Badir’s home, with audio of the phone call between the assailant and the approaching officer.

After calling the police to report an apparently nonexistent domestic violence incident, Badir can be heard directing the police officer to a certain spot just outside the building’s door. The call’s audio then cuts off and Badir is seen charging out of the building, pointing a makeshift submachine gun at the officer and attempting to open fire at close range.

With the firearm apparently jammed, Badir is then seen retreating back into the building.

The video then cuts to the cop’s helmet-mounted camera, while he takes cover, updates a police control center about the incident and calls for backup.

During this time, according to police, the assailant hurled Molotov cocktails at a police car. Police said they later found several more firebombs on the roof of the building Badir had called cops to.

In the footage, a car’s engine can then be heard as Badir speeds in a car towards the officers in reverse, and slams into another vehicle next to the police, injuring three officers, before being shot dead.

A knife was later found in the car.

The Ynet news site reported that even after viewing the footage, Badir’s family denied the incident had been a premeditated attack, and said the cops should have shot at his legs instead of killing him.

A makeshift ‘Carlo’ submachine gun used by Naim Badir during an attack against police officers in Kafr Qasim, early December 23, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said Friday morning that “the officers reacted fast and prevented a larger attack planned against police forces.”

Central District Commander Avi Bitton said after an assessment with various security officials including the Shin Bet security service, “it appears to have been a terror attack planned days earlier.”

Naim Badir (Courtesy)

A statement from the family insisted that “our son did not plan any attack. It’s a fallacious claim by police to hide its failures in facing crime in Arab society.”

The incident came amid high tensions and frequent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians, with most of the violence taking place in the West Bank. It also comes amid a wave of violent crime in Israel’s Arab community.

Molotov cocktails found on the roof of a building where an attack against police officers occurred in Kafr Qasim, early December 23, 2022. (Israel Police)

Earlier this month, a Palestinian rammed a vehicle into a motorist in Tel Aviv. Police prosecutors said Monday they plan to file terror charges against the suspect after an investigation found the motive for the incident was nationalistic.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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