“We affirm that this blessed operation, which healed the hearts of our people, came as a natural and legitimate response to the crimes of the occupation,” said Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner
Images on social media circulated Friday of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza celebrating a terrorist attack in Jerusalem that left two Israelis dead on Friday morning, just hours before the beginning of Shabbat.
In a video posted to Twitter, a man instructs children in Gaza to hand out pastries to passerby in honor of 31-year-old Hussein Qaraqe, who rammed his car into a bus stop in the East Jerusalem in an attack that killed six-year-old Yaakov Pelli and twenty-year-old newly-wed Alter Shlomo Liderman while injuring five others. Images also purported to show members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Khan Yunis, Gaza, distributing sweets.
“The heroic action in Jerusalem is a natural response to all the crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people, the last of which is the massacre in the Aqabat Jaber camp,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem said on Friday, citing an IDF operation to neutralize roughly half a dozen terrorists who conspired to commit an attack on an Israeli restaurant in January.
In another celebratory statement, the Islamic Jihad Movement (PIJ) said, “We affirm that this blessed operation, which healed the hearts of our people, came as a natural and legitimate response to the crimes of the occupation.”
After the attack, which occurred amid escalating Palestinian violence against Israelis, Qaraqe’s uncle told Palestine Post Network that Qaraqe “loved Palestine all his life, and he was suffering from a severe injury in his back.”
Qaraqe, who lived in a rented house in Issawiya — a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem — was a “mentally disturbed” person only several days removed from being an in-patient at a psychiatric hospital, according to Gili Cohen, a correspondent for Israeli public broadcaster KAN. He also, Hebrew outlet N12 reported, had a history of lauding terrorists on social media, posting “Glory to the pure souls” in reference to those who committed previous atrocities.
Meanwhile, various Arab-language media outlets described the Israeli victims as “settlers.”
Roya News, a Jordanian outlet, ran an article about the incident with a headline saying, “Two settlers killed in car-ramming operation in occupied in Jerusalem,” while a Palestinian outlet said, “Martyrdom of the executor. Two settlers were killed and others injured in a run-over operation in Jerusalem.” The Palestinian Chronicle, an outfit based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington, reported that Qaraqe “rammed his vehicle into a group of illegal Jewish settlers” after saying that Israel “claimed” that he had done it.
In the United States, a headline by CNN said “Two dead including child as car rams people at Jerusalem bus stop,” prompting criticism from the Israel Foreign Ministry.
“This wasn’t a self driving car @CNN,” the Ministry said on Twitter. “The driver a Palestinian terrorist *intentionally* rammed into a bus stop packed with children and families traveling before Shabbat.”
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