Hamas condemned Israel’s closure of the Temple Mount following a deadly terror attack on the site and called for more attacks.
Hamas lauded Friday’s attack in which three assailants shot and killed two Israeli policemen at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The terror group also threatened further attacks following Israel’s decision, after an emergency security meeting, to close the holy site.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum expressed the Islamic organization’s “grave concerns” over the closure of the Al Aqsa mosque, calling it a “crime” which is “part of an overall religious war waged against the Palestinian people and their land and holy sites.”
Barhoum said it was “an unprecedented aggression against the Arab and Muslims’ unequivocal right in the holy compound in Jerusalem, and an attempt to force a new reality to divide the mosque.”
“We in Hamas hold the Israeli Occupation fully responsible for all the consequences resulting from the ongoing crimes and attacks,” Barhoum stated, calling upon “our people” to escalate what he termed the “Al-Quds uprising” and “to combat with the Jewish settlers at all the flash points to defend our holy shrine.”
“We as well urge the Arab and Islamic nations to protest around the Israeli embassies in their countries to voice their anger against the Israeli crimes and show their support for Al Aqsa compound,” Barhoum stated.
‘Legitimate Armed Resistance’
Another Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, on Friday justified the deadly attack, saying it was “a natural response to the continuous Israeli terror and desecration of the holy sites.” Abu Zuhri stressed that the intifada, the violent Palestinian uprising, will continue and the Palestinians will unite behind what he called the “legitimate armed resistance.”
Hamas also staged a rally in Gaza celebrating the attack.
Israeli security forces searched the Temple Mount for weapons and other terror-related objects over the weekend.
Trump Administration: ‘Zero Tolerance for Terrorism’
On Saturday, the White House condemned the act of terror in a strongly-worded statement.
“The people of the United States are heartbroken that terrorists brutally gunned down two Israeli police officers,” said Press Secretary Sean Spicer. “There must be zero tolerance for terrorism. It is incompatible with achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it, and eradicate it.”
President Reuvan Rivlin called the terrorists “agents of murder” who “desecrate the name of God.”
“The State of Israel will defend its sovereignty and its citizens with a strong hand, and will not allow anyone to provoke the region into a bloody war,” Rivlin stated.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday held a telephone consultation with the heads of Israel’s security establishment and decided to gradually open the Temple Mount to worshippers, visitors and tourists beginning Sunday afternoon.
It was further decided that the entrance gates to the Temple Mount will be equipped with metal detectors and installed outside the Mount to cover events on the Mount, security measures which were not in place until now.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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