Palestinian Authority condemns deadly attack at Pittsburgh synagogue
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Palestinian Authority condemns deadly attack at Pittsburgh synagogue

Statement blames violence on ‘fascist and rotten beliefs based on the supremacy and dominance of white people’; Turkey and Saudi Arabia also decry shooting that killed 11

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

The scene of a mass hooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood on October 27, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images/AFP)
The scene of a mass hooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood on October 27, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images/AFP)

The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned the deadly shooting attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, calling it “a terrorist act.”

A gunman, who entered the Jewish place of worship on Saturday, shot dead at least 11 people and injured six others.

“The Foreign Ministry condemns this terrorist act that targeted a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh,” the PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the official PA news agency Wafa. “The ministry condemns the targeting of places of worship by these terrorists who hold fascist and rotten beliefs based on the supremacy and dominance of white people.”

The suspected gunman, identified as 46-year-old Pittsburgh resident Robert Bowers, reportedly yelled “All Jews must die” as he entered the synagogue and began firing during a circumcision ceremony, or brit. He engaged in a shootout with responding police officers and barricaded himself inside the building before surrendering. He is said to have been injured.

Bowers wrote anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant conspiracies on Gab, an alt-right social network similar to Twitter.  His last message on Gab, hours before the shooting Saturday, read: “HIAS likes to bring invaders to kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, is an American-Jewish nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian aid to refugees and immigrants.

People light candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP/Matt Rourke)

The PA Foreign Ministry said that it stood in solidarity with the American people and offered its condolences to the families of the victims.

City officials said the shooting was being investigated as a federal hate crime.

On Saturday evening, the Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced the shooting attack.

“We have received the news with sorrow that many people were killed and injured in an armed attack targeting a synagogue today (27 October) in Pittsburgh, USA,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We strongly condemn this heinous attack and express our condolences to the grieving families, the American Jewish community and the people of the United States.”

On Sunday morning, the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC, also condemned the shooting.

“The Embassy expresses its sincere condolences to the American people and to families of victims of the violent incident at a synagogue in Pittsburgh today. Houses of worship are meant to provide safe and spiritual refuge. Those who desecrate their sanctity attack all humanity,” the Saudi embassy tweeted.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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