The Hamas terror group praised a series of attacks across Israel on Tuesday that left a US tourist dead and 14 Israelis injured.
In the wake of a deadly stabbing spree in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, the third serious attack in a matter of hours, the group said the events of the day prove that the wave of violence that began in October is not over.
“Hamas congratulates the three heroic operations this evening, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Jaffa, and considers this proof of the failure for all these theories to abort the Intifada, which will continue until the realization of its goals,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri in a statement.
“Hamas celebrates the martyrs that have ascended through these operations, and confirms that their pure blood will, God willing, be the fuel for escalating the intifada,” he said.
Twenty-nine Israelis and four non-Israelis have been killed in a wave of Palestinian terrorism and violence since October. Some 180 Palestinians have also been killed, some two-thirds of them while attacking Israelis, and the rest during clashes with troops, according to the Israeli army.
Tuesday’s attacks resulted in one of the highest one-day casualty counts since the beginning of the ongoing unrest.
An American tourist was killed and at least 10 people were injured on Tuesday evening when a Palestinian man carried out a stabbing spree in Jaffa. Five of the injured were described as being in critical condition.
The terrorist stabbed his victims in at least three locations in an attack that lasted some 20 minutes, reports said. The attacker was shot dead by police after a chase from the Jaffa Port along the Tel Aviv beach promenade. Police said he was a 21-year-old man from the West Bank Palestinian refugee camp in Qalqiliya.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai noted that the stabber was not a resident of the mixed Arab-Jewish city, which had not seen any previous attacks during the current wave of violence.
“We know that the residents of Jaffa condemn this event,” Huldai said, speaking near the Manta Ray restaurant where the stabber was shot and killed by police.
“It is the right thing to continue our routine as normal; we cannot stay locked up at our homes,” he said, adding that events for the Jewish festival of Purim set for later in March in Tel Aviv and Jaffa would take place as scheduled, despite the attacks.
Speaking at the scene of the attack, Israel Police Chief Roni Alsheich said security forces believe the stabbings were not connected to two other attacks that took place earlier Tuesday in Petah Tikva and Jerusalem.
One Israeli man was injured on Petah Tikva’s central Brosh Street when a Palestinian assailant followed him into a shop and stabbed him several times in the upper body. The victim managed to remove the knife from his neck and used it to stab and kill his attacker, aided by the store owner, police said.
Minutes later, two Israeli Border Police officers were seriously injured, with one of them described as “critical,” in a drive-by shooting attack on Salah a-Din Street, near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. The gunman, riding a motorcycle, opened fire at the officers, striking one in the head. As he attempted to escape the scene, security forces engaged him in a firefight, during which he shot the second officer, police said. The shooter was killed.
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz described the three attacks as “Islamic State-style” terrorism in an interview with Channel 2 news.
“We are engaged in a war against Islamic State-style Muslim extremist terror. They are murderers motivated by hate and we cannot allow them to continue harming Jews,” he said.
The stabbing in Jaffa took place as US Vice President Joe Biden was at the Peres Peace Center, a 15-minute walk from the scene.
The vice president had landed in Israel several hours earlier for a two-day visit. While Biden and former president Shimon Peres did not refer to the attacks in their public comments which were made as the incident was still ongoing, Peres said afterwards that he had briefed Biden on the events.
“He wanted to know all the details, the names of the families and the condition of the victims,” Peres said.