At a Glance | December 11

Jerusalem Statement Prompts Terror Groups to Call for Violence

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Terror groups urged violence and protests continued over the weekend throughout the Middle East in response to President Trump’s declaration on December 6 that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Clashes in Israel left at least Palestinians four dead in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 157 injured December 10 by Israeli forces in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. Israel said it conducted airstrikes December 9 against four HAMAS military facilities after rockets slammed into southern Israel from Gaza. Jerusalem includes sites sacred to several religions, notably the complex that includes the Western Wall, revered by Jews, and Al Aqsa Mosque, an Islamic shrine (photo, right). Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, as well as the Taliban, HAMAS and Shia extremists issued calls to arms. ISIS, however, called statements by other jihadists self-serving and hypocritical, suggesting the removal of Arab leaders in nations around Israel “for protecting the Jews from the strikes of the mujahideen.” Arab League foreign ministers demanded that Trump reverse his position. Vice President Mike Pence is to visit the region this month, but a number of figures, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt’s Coptic Christian Church, said they will not meet with him.


Man Used Disguise to Enter New Mexico High School and Kill 2 Students

A man randomly shot and killed two students inside a New Mexico high school on December 7 after entering the school disguised as a student, and then killed himself, authorities said. William Atchison, 21, of Aztec, legally purchased a 9mm Glock pistol a month ago, San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen said. The shooter had several magazines and went to a bathroom at Aztec High School, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said. Atchison killed one student there, and then another in a hall, before firing into classrooms. Teachers and staff kept students behind locked doors during the rampage. A thumb drive found on Atchison included a message that said, “Work sucks, school sucks, life sucks. I just want out of this (expletive).”


Tip Leads to Arrest of Florida Man Accused of Acquiring Arms for Mass Shooting at Mosque

A citizen’s tip that a Florida man hated Muslims and threatened to “shoot up” a Jacksonville mosque prompted an investigation that ended with his arrest for purchasing a rifle silencer from an undercover officer, according to court papers. “The investigation confirmed that the suspect was making plans to carry out a mass shooting, and he already had the weaponry necessary to complete the attack,” Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said on December 4 as he and federal authorities announced the arrest of Bernandino Gawala Bolatete. After the tip in late October, the citizen introduced Bolatete to an undercover officer, according to the federal complaint. It charged Bolatete, 69, with having an unregistered silencer. Bolatete and the officer went shooting several times at a gun range, and Bolatete said he planned to climb the tower at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida and open fire during services on a Friday, according to court documents.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.