Hamas praises ‘heroic’ stabbing, but avoids responsibility
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Hamas praises ‘heroic’ stabbing, but avoids responsibility

18-year-old assailant Yasser Tarwa shown on terror group’s website brandishing its paraphernalia

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Jerusalem stabber Yasser Tarwa shown wearing Hamas scarf and headband (al-Resalah Facebook page)
Jerusalem stabber Yasser Tarwa shown wearing Hamas scarf and headband (al-Resalah Facebook page)

Hamas on Sunday praised, but did not take credit for, a stabbing attack that critically wounded an Israeli Border Policeman in Jerusalem, as photos published online indicated the assailant was a member or sympathizer of the Islamist movement.

The Facebook page of Hamas website al-Resalah.net posted two photos of 18-year-old Yasser Yassin Tarwa from the town of Sa’ir near Hebron.

In one, Tarwa is seen wearing a Hamas scarf and headband, and camouflage pants.

In another, the Hebron Polytechnic student is seen displaying the green flag of his university’s Islamic bloc, his face painted in camouflage colors.

The knife used in the terror attack on June 21, 2015 in Jerusalem's Old City in which a Border Police officer was stabbed in the heart, neck and chest. (Israel Police)
The knife used in the terror attack on June 21, 2015 in Jerusalem’s Old City in which a Border Police officer was stabbed in the heart, neck and chest. (Israel Police)

Tarwa stabbed a Border Policeman repeatedly in the upper body and neck on Sunday morning, before the police officer shot him. Both the Border Policeman and the assailant were evacuated to the hospital in serious condition.

Hamas spokesman Hossam Badran said in a statement Sunday that the “heroic” attack was timed perfectly to coincide with the first anniversary of the killing of Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir by Jewish extremists.

“The operation sends a message of resistance to the occupation whereby resisting youth are able to defy the occupation and reach its soldiers even where they [the policemen] gather,” Badran wrote.

Yasser Tarwa displays Hamas flag al-Resalah Facebook page
Yasser Tarwa displays Hamas flag (al-Resalah Facebook page)

The stabbing, which took place shortly after 10 a.m. near Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City, followed a deadly shooting attack claimed by Hamas near the Israeli settlement of Dolev on Friday. The killer of Danny Gonen, 25, has not yet been apprehended.

“Congratulations to the modest arm in the West Bank which carried out the heroic attack against the settlers against the Zionists west of Ramallah on the anniversary of the martyring of Qassam [Brigades] heroes Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha,” wrote Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on Saturday, referring to the killers of three Israeli teenagers last June. The two kidnappers were killed in a firefight with Israeli soldiers in September 2014, after a manhunt of several months.

Security officers at the site where a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli border police officer near Damascus Gate, Jerusalem Old City, June 21, 2015. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Security officers at the site where a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer near Damascus Gate, Jerusalem’s Old City, June 21, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“More of these quality, heroic operations rekindle the hope of our people and its faith in the spirit of jihad, after some have counted on its eradication.”

Hamas — which Israel, the US and the European Union consider a terror organization — has long encouraged individual acts of terror in the West Bank and Jerusalem against Israelis.

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