Hamas praises ‘heroic’ West Bank shooting attack

Hamas praises ‘heroic’ West Bank shooting attack

Terror group’s spokesman says drive-by shooting that critically injures pregnant Israeli woman and wounds 6 others affirms ‘legitimacy’ of Palestinian resistance

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou speaking to an Arabic television station on October 7, 2018. (Screenshot: Youtube)
Hamas spokesman Abdelatif al-Qanou speaking to an Arabic television station on October 7, 2018. (Screenshot: Youtube)

A Hamas spokesman praised the terrorist attack adjacent to the Ofra settlement in the central West Bank on Sunday in which a pregnant 21-year-old Israeli woman and six others were wounded, describing it as “heroic.”

Shots were fired from a passing car at a crowd of people who were waiting at a bus stop near the settlement. The pregnant woman was in a critical condition, and was “fighting for her life” in the hospital late Sunday. Doctors delivered her baby, which was in a stable condition.

“The heroic Ofra operation is an affirmation of our people’s choice and legitimacy in resisting the Zionist occupation and its settlers,” Abdelatif al-Qanou, a Hamas spokesman, posted on his Facebook page. “It proves that any attempt to condemn the Palestinian resistance will fail in the face of the desire and valiance of our Palestinian people.”

He stopped short of claiming credit for the attack.

While Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, its activities in the West Bank have largely been curtailed by near constant activity by the IDF and Shin Bet security service and also by the Palestinian Authority security forces.

The Hamas spokesman added the shooting “is a message that our people will continue its struggle and uprising until it reclaims all of its stolen rights.”

Hamas officials have frequently encouraged and praised shooting, stabbing and ramming attacks in the West Bank and Israel.

Both the US and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group.

The scene of a terrorist attack outside the West Bank settlement of Ofra, on December 9, 2018. (Magen David Adom)

Last Thursday, a US-sponsored United Nations General Assembly draft resolution condemning the Gaza-based terror group for firing rockets into Israel failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed to pass, with a final tally of 87 in favor, 57 opposed and 33 abstentions. Hamas celebrated the draft resolution’s failure including one of its officials who called it a “slap” against the US administration.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the tally “a very important achievement for the US and Israel,” highlighting that a majority of countries voted in favor of the draft resolution.

In security camera video of the shooting on Sunday, posted to social media, a white car is seen slowing down near the bus stop, after which bullets can be seen striking the crowd who scramble for cover. The car, which comes to a stop for a few moments while the shooting apparently continues, then speeds off down the road as IDF soldiers are seen running to the bus stop.

Paramedics who were in the MDA station nearby heard the shooting and immediately drove to the scene in an ambulance and began treating the victims, the MDA spokesperson said.

Doctors successfully delivered the baby being carried by the  21-year-old Israeli woman shortly after she was shot and critically hurt in the terrorist attack.

The baby, who was delivered in the 30th week of the pregnancy, was immediately transferred to the ward for premature babies at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the hospital said, and was said to be in “stable” condition.

A man, 21, with moderate wounds, was taken to the same hospital as were two others who had light injuries. Army Radio said the woman’s husband was among those lightly injured.

Bus stops are popular hitchhiking points often used by IDF soldiers looking for rides.

The northern entrance to al-Bireh, a town adjacent to Ramallah, was closed in both directions, the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa reported as the IDF tried to locate the gunmen.

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