Israel

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Praise Jerusalem Terror Attack

Palestinian terrorist groups have issued statements celebrating Monday’s bus bombing in Jerusalem, which left 21 people injured.

The Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas said in a statement on its website that it “welcomes the Jerusalem operation, and considers it a natural reaction to Israeli crimes, especially field executions and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Some mosques in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas rules, also broadcast praises of the attack from loudspeakers, according to the Associated Press.

Amichai Stein, a journalist with Israel’s Channel 1, and IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner reported that some Palestinians in Gaza were handing out candy in celebration of the bombing.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is also backed by Iran, described the attack as “proof of the failure of security coordination” between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, Haaretz reported. Jerusalem Post Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh wrote that Islamic Jihad also called the bombing “a qualitative development in form and substance of the blessed intifada.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the second-largest group in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, similarly announced that it “welcomes the operation as a positive and important development of the intifada,” Haaretz reported.

Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90Two of the 21 victims of the bomb blast are reported to be in serious condition, while seven are moderately wounded and the remaining are lightly injured. It is currently unclear who was responsible for the explosion.

The bombing comes amid a Palestinian wave of terror that has left 34 people dead and over 360 injured since September 2015. The perpetrators of these attacks are often praised not only by Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas, but also by the Palestinian Authority and its ruling party, Fatah. PA President Mahmoud Abbas consoled families of terrorists — including the relatives of a man who hacked a Jerusalem rabbi to death in October — during two separate meetings in February, calling the attackers “martyrs.” The first meeting took place hours after three Palestinian men gunned down an Israeli policewoman in Jerusalem. Fatah praised the shooters as “role models.”

The PA also joined Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in honoring an Arab-Israeli gunman who killed three people in Tel Aviv on New Year’s Day, saying he was “one of the most precious martyrs whose name has been inscribed with his pure blood that watered the soil of our free land.” Fatah had similar praise for the terrorist, who died during a shootout with authorities, writing, “may Allah receive you in Heaven.”

“On such a day where morning exposes, to the credit of devoted security forces, a terrorist tunnel in the south of the country, and in the evening we ferry civilians returning from their daily routine to hospitals, it is clear to us all that our struggle against terrorism will never stop,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said after Monday’s attack. “We will chase down and reach all those who bid us harm until we achieve quiet.”

News that the Israeli military uncovered and destroyed a Hamas tunnel that extended from Gaza into Israeli territory two weeks ago was declassified on Monday.

[Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90]