The Hamas terror group said in a statement early Thursday that the two gunmen who shot up a Tel Aviv cafe on Wednesday night were members of the organization.
At least four people were killed in the terror attack Wednesday night at the Sarona Market shopping complex, and another 16 were injured, including three in serious condition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed “decisive action” to track down those responsible for the third deadly attack in the city this year.
The two suspects were named in Palestinian media reports as Muhammad and Khalid Muhamra. One of the men was shot by a security guard and seriously injured, the second was arrested by police and taken in for questioning.
The two 21-year-old men from the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, entered Israel illegally, but had no criminal record.
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The IDF raided the home of one of the terrorists and interrogated the family, Walla news reported. Israeli security agencies were working to determine how they entered Israel from the West Bank.
The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai nulled 204 work permits for members of the shooters’ family, Channel 10 reported.
Earlier, police found a car in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak which they suspected may have belonged to the two gunmen.
In an official statement on Twitter early on Thursday, Hamas praised the shooting as “heroic” and intimated that more attacks would follow over the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which started this week.
A Hamas media outlet shared a photo of a traditional Palestinian Ramadan treat being stuffed with a bullet with the caption “Tel Aviv operation.”
— شهاب ShehabAgency (@ShehabAgency) June 8, 2016
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called the injured terrorist a “hero” and said he was praying for his soul. The Islamist terror group said the attack was “a message from children of the resistance to leaders of the occupation, especially [Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman],” who took office last week.
The rival Fatah party issued a statement on its official Twitter feed saying Israel was “reaping the repercussions of choosing violence against the Palestinian people.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced outrage at Hamas’s celebration of the shooting, saying in a statement that he was “shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it.”
Netanyahu, who visited the scene of the attack late Wednesday, said that he discussed “a series of offensive and defensive steps” to respond to the shooting. “This is a challenge, and we shall meet it,” he said without elaborating.
“We’re in the middle of a complex period. We will act decisively and intelligently,” the prime minister said. He ordered “determined action by the police, IDF and security agencies to locate all collaborators who took part in this murder, and to prevent future attacks.”