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Palestinian terror groups praise ‘heroic’ Tel Aviv attack, but don’t claim credit
Palestinian terror groups celebrated an apparent terror attack in Tel Aviv on Thursday night, but none of them took responsibility for the shooting spree that left two dead and others fighting for their lives.
The Hamas terror group called the attack a “heroic operation” and vowed that “resistance” against Israel “is continuing and escalating.”
“The continuing terrorism of the occupation and its crimes, attempts to Judaize Jerusalem and to perform sacrifices in the Al-Aqsa Mosque to build its so-called ‘Temple’ during what they call ‘Passover’ — against it stands blood and bullets,” the terror group said in a statement.
Several senior Islamic Jihad officials also praised the attack, with many noting that the shooting took place deep inside Israel’s center.
“This heroic operation deep in Tel Aviv confirms how frail [Israel] is, how susceptible it is to being broken,” senior Islamic Jihad member Yousef al-Hasayneh said, according to a statement circulated in Arabic-language media.
The Dizengoff shooting was the latest in a wave of attacks inside Israel over the past few weeks. Besides Thursday night’s victims, eleven people — nine Israelis and two Ukrainian nationals — have been killed so far in the terror attacks.
Ten people were rushed to the nearby Ichilov Hospital with gunshot wounds, two of whom were later declared dead, the hospital said. Four others were listed as critical and were undergoing surgery, according to the hospital. Two were seriously injured, and two were mildly hurt.
Police have tentatively described Thursday’s attack as a nationalistically motivated terror shooting, although the gunman has yet to be identified by authorities. Hundreds of officers have flooded the Tel Aviv streets to search for the perpetrator.
Tel Aviv police chief Ami Eshed told reporters that while signs pointed to the shooting being a terror attack, other avenues were being investigated as well.
“From what we know, there are signs this was terror,” Eshed said at a late-night briefing.
In footage published by Palestinian media, a parade of motorcycles can be seen celebrating the attack in the streets of Jenin. The West Bank city has seen repeated violent gunfights between locals and Israeli soldiers over the past few months.
???? متابعة صفا| جنين تحتفل الآن بعملية تل أبيب البطولية pic.twitter.com/hJWKmyJZfN
— وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) April 7, 2022
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had yet to comment as of Thursday night. Abbas’s security forces work closely with Israel to crack down on terror groups in the West Bank, but the leader rarely issues statements after attacks against Israelis.
Abbas published a rare condemnation after five Israelis died in a shooting attack in Bnei Brak last week, the bloodiest assault so far in the terror wave.
One of the few officials in Abbas’s Fatah movement to comment on Thursday’s shooting was mid-level functionary Munir al-Jaghoub, who runs several social media accounts that disseminate the Palestinian party’s messaging.
Jaghoub appeared to blame “the continued occupation of the lands of the State of Palestine,” West Bank settlement construction, and the world’s “double standards” towards the Palestinians for the violent attack.
“The only solution is to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories and realize the Palestinian state on the ground,” Jaghoub wrote in a tweet.
The shooting comes on the eve of the first Friday in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Officials and analysts have warned for months that this year’s Ramadan could see high tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Clashes in Jerusalem during last May during Ramadan helped spark the war between Israel and Gaza terror groups.
Israeli authorities announced earlier this week that West Bank Palestinian women, children and some men would be allowed to attend this Friday’s prayers at the Al-Aqsa holy site, despite the spiraling tensions sparked by the attacks. It was unclear whether the relatively more relaxed policy would remain in place following Thursday’s shooting.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with senior security officials late on Thursday night in Tel Aviv, including army chief Aviv Kochavi and Shin Bet security head Ronen Bar. The forum decided to send reinforcements to Tel Aviv, Bennett’s office said in a statement.