International community condemns ‘horrific’ Tel Aviv attack, Hamas hails it
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International community condemns ‘horrific’ Tel Aviv attack, Hamas hails it

Islamist group says deadly shooting at crowded cafe was ‘message’ to Israeli leaders, ‘especially Liberman’; Fatah: Israel ‘reaped’ the violence it sowed against Palestinians

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

The scene at Tel Aviv's Cinemetheque theater, where police were also called following a shooting attack at the nearby Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016 (Evan Lang/Courtesy)
The scene at Tel Aviv's Cinemetheque theater, where police were also called following a shooting attack at the nearby Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016 (Evan Lang/Courtesy)

The international community hastened to condemn Wednesday evening’s terror attack in Tel Aviv, while Palestinian groups hailed the deadly shooting as an act of resistance against Israel.

Four people were killed and 16 were injured in the terror attack on a packed cafe in central Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. Three victims remained in moderate condition and 13 suffered minor injuries. One of the suspected shooters was seriously hurt when he was shot by security personnel, another was apprehended by police.

Washington denounced the “horrific” attack “in the strongest possible terms,” Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement. “We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded.”

“These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified. We are in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support and concern,” Toner said.

CCTV footage released in the wake of the shooting showed two men dressed in black suits opening fire at a Max Brenner restaurant in the Sarona Market complex in central Tel Aviv, footsteps from Israel’s military headquarters. The two suspected culprits were reported to be 21-year-old Palestinians from a village near Hebron. One was shot by security personnel and seriously injured. The second was arrested, mostly unharmed, police said.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton denounced the “heinous” attack in a statement and sent “my deepest condolences to the families of those killed and I will continue to pray for the wounded.”

“I stand in solidarity with the Israeli people in the face of these ongoing threats, and in unwavering support of the country’s right to defend itself. Israel’s security must remain non-negotiable,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said.

The scene of the Sarona complex terror attack in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016 (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
The scene of the Sarona complex terror attack in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2016 (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

The European Union said in a statement “Wednesday night’s terror attack in the Sarona complex in Tel Aviv exposed scores of innocent civilians and families to indiscriminate fire. Four people were killed and more seriously injured. Our thoughts are with the families of the dead and injured.”

“Those responsible for these murders must be brought to justice,” the EU continued. “Those who praise this attack must be condemned.”

No group claimed responsibility for the shooting in its immediate aftermath, but in an official statement on Twitter, Hamas praised the shooting as “heroic” and intimating that there were more attacks to follow over the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which started this week. Fatah issued a statement on its official Twitter feed saying Israel was “reaping the repercussions of choosing violence against the Palestinian people.”

A Hamas media outlet shared a photo of a traditional Palestinian Ramadan treat being stuffed with a bullet with the caption “Tel Aviv operation.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement denouncing the shooting that “there is no justification for terrorism nor for the glorification of those who commit such heinous acts.”

“The Secretary-General is shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it,” Ban’s office said in a statement. “He calls upon the Palestinian leadership to live up to their responsibility to stand firmly against violence and the incitement that fuels it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene of a terror attack on Tel Aviv's Sarona Market on June 9, 2016. (Prime Minister's Office)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene of a terror attack on Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market on June 9, 2016. (Prime Minister’s Office)

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said on Twitter he was “Shocked to see #Hamas welcomes #TelAviv terror attack. Leaders must stand against violence and the incitement that fuels it, not condone it.”

Earlier, 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, believed to have been carried out by two Palestinians from a village near Hebron, was “a message from children of the resistance to leaders of the occupation, especially [Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman],” who took office last week.

French President Francois Hollande condemned “with the greatest strength the odious attack” and expressed France’s “support for Israel in the fight against terrorism.”

Canada’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement online that Ottawa was “shocked” by the terror attack.

The United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey also tweeted Britain’s condemnation of the attack on the Sarona Market.

“No possible justification for terrorism anywhere. Our thoughts w/ victims and families,” he said on the social media platform.

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