US, EU lead international condemnation of Jerusalem attack

France ‘places itself on Israel’s side in its fight against terrorism,’ says FM, as local envoys, governments slam truck-ramming terror attack

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel gather at the site of a vehicle-ramming attack in Jerusalem, on January 8, 2017. (AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)
Israeli security forces and emergency personnel gather at the site of a vehicle-ramming attack in Jerusalem, on January 8, 2017. (AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)

The United States led the international outcry at the deadly truck ramming attack in Jerusalem that killed four soldiers and wounded 16 other people.

East Jerusalem resident Fadi al-Qunbar, 28, described by his family as “religious,” drove his truck into a group of soldiers touring the Haas Promenade in southern Jerusalem Sunday afternoon.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific vehicular attack by a terrorist in Jerusalem,” the US State Department said in a statement. “There is absolutely no justification for these brutal and senseless attacks. We‎ condemn the glorification of terrorism now or at any time and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated.”

The European Union issued a similar condemnation.

“The EU condemns the murder of these four young Israelis, as well as any praise or incitement for terrorist acts,” a statement said. “There can be no justification for such a crime: the EU will continue to work with those who seek peace and denounce those who pursue violence and terror.”

Earlier, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tweeted in Hebrew: “I vehemently condemn the terror attack in Jerusalem in which IDF troops were killed. Condolences to the families of the deceased and prayers for recovery to those injured.”

The UK’s ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, also took to Twitter to condemn the attack. There can “be no justification for terrorism anywhere,” he wrote, adding that his thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Australian envoy Dave Sharma condemned “unreservedly [the] vicious Jerusalem terrorist ramming attack targeting IDF soldiers.”

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also took to social media to express his outrage over the attack.

“My thoughts go out to victims of shocking #terror attack in #Jerusalem. Must be condemned by all. Absolutely no excuses, no justifications!” he wrote on Twitter.

In a subsequent statement, Mladenov said it was “reprehensible that some choose to glorify such acts which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis.” He added: “There is nothing heroic in such actions.” He urged all to “condemn violence and incitement, maintain calm and to do everything they can to avoid further escalation.”

The ambassador of the European Union in Israel, Lars Faaborg-Anderson also strongly condemned the terror attack, “which seems to have taken so many young people’s lives.” Writing on Twitter, he said there was “no justification for such a crime.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, in a statement, condemned the “horrific attack.” He expressed his condolences to the casualties and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. “In this painful moment, France stands — as always — in solidarity with Israel. It places itself on Israel’s side in its fight against terrorism and for securing its safety.”

The French consulate in Jerusalem wrote on Twitter: “Horror and indignation after truck terror attack on the Haas promenade.” France’s ambassador to Israel, Helene Le Gal, also expressed “horror and total solidarity” after learning of the attack.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on social media that “Canada stands firmly with Israel in condemning today’s horrific terrorist attack. Our thoughts are with the victims’ families & the injured.”

The foreign minister of Norway, Borge Brende, likewise condemned the attack, expressing his “most sincere condolences to the families of the killed and my thoughts to the victims and their loved ones.”

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