Palestinian terror groups on Thursday praised a car-ramming attack in the West Bank earlier in the day that left three Israeli soldiers wounded, and called for more assaults to “teach the occupation a lesson.”
“We welcome the brave attack that was carried out against the Zionists,” a Hamas spokesperson said, according to the Hebrew-language Maariv website.
Two soldiers were seriously wounded and another suffered light injuries when a Palestinian driver plowed a car into them as they stood at the side of the road near to the Sinjil junction in the northern West Bank, near the Shiloh settlement.
Another soldier who was with them opened fire at the driver of the speeding vehicle, injuring him after which the car flipped over. The seriously injured driver was detained by security forces.
While not taking responsibility, Hamas said in a statement that the attack was an “an appropriate response to the arrogance of the enemy and crimes against prisoners, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and even babies,” a reference to an arson attack last Friday morning in the West Bank village of Duma which killed an 18-month-old Palestinian baby, as well as to recent clashes on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The firebombing was suspected to be the work of Jewish terrorists.
“We demand from our people in the West Bank to carry out more attacks, in order to teach the occupation a lesson,” the Hamas statement continued.
A senior official from the Islamic Jihad terror group likewise praised the car attack.
“The brave attack should teach the occupation what the price is of their terror and aggression against babies and against all of the Palestinian people and its holy places,” he said, and called for “escalating the situation in the territories.”
Hamas had already called on Palestinians last week to initiate lone-wolf attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers in response to the arson attack that left toddler Ali Dawabsha dead and three members of his family severely injured.
Hours later, police said, masked Palestinian youths at the Al-Aqsa Mosque threw stones at security forces while protesters held aloft photographs of Dawabsha.
Clashes had also rocked Al-Aqsa a week earlier when Palestinians were angered by Jews’ access to the compound on Tisha B’av, an annual day of Jewish mourning for the destruction of the First and Second Temples that stood at the site. Visits are allowed to the complex, but Jewish prayer is prohibited.
Israeli police briefly entered the mosque during those clashes to shut the doors and lock rioters inside.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.