The United States on Friday “vehemently” condemned the “heinous” terror attack in the Israeli city of Elad that killed three people and injured seven others.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said US officials “vehemently condemn” the attack in Elad.
“This was a horrific attack targeting innocent men and women, and was particularly heinous coming as Israel celebrated its Independence Day,” Blinken said in a statement. “We remain in close contact with our Israeli friends and partners and stand firmly with them in the face of this attack.”
His condemnation came after US ambassador Thomas Nides called the terror attack in Elad “a heartbreaking end” to the celebrations of Israel’s Independence Day.
“I share the grief of families of those murdered in the terrorist attack & wish speedy recovery to the wounded. This must STOP!” Nides wrote on Twitter.
Tor Wennesland, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, also condemned the killings and blasted Palestinian terror groups for applauding the attack.
“Appalled by this evening’s terror attack in central Israel in which three Israelis were killed, and several others injured. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded,” Wennesland said in a statement.
“It is deplorable that Hamas and others continue to glorify and encourage such attacks, which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis. All must condemn violence and stand up to terror,” he says.
Condemnation also came from the UK, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss saying she was “appalled by another terror attack in Israel, targeting innocent people as they celebrate their Independence Day. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. The UK stands with the Israeli people against terrorism.”
The European Union also condemned the attack saying that it “stands with Israel at this difficult time.”
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. We wish a speedy recovery to those injured. The EU stands with Israel and its people at this difficult time,” the bloc’s foreign affairs division said in a statement. “This violence must stop. The European Union remains firmly committed to the prevention and fight against terrorism.”
France also joined the condemnations, saying that “on this anniversary of Israel’s independence, the country is again hit by an Islamist terrorist attack, in Elad . We strongly condemn this attack and offer our condolences to the relatives of the victims, as well as our wishes for the recovery of the injured.”
The attack came at the end of Israel’s Independence Day and followed a wave of terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent weeks, and repeated threats by Palestinian terror groups over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
According to eyewitnesses, two terrorists attacked several people with an axe and a knife at a central park and a nearby road in the largely ultra-Orthodox city. At least three people were killed and one of the wounded was in critical condition, and up to seven were hurt in the attack.
The attack came as tensions have risen sharply between Israel and the Palestinians in recent weeks, against the backdrop of repeated terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank that left 16 others dead.
Thursday’s attack brought the number of people killed in terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank since March 21 this year, to 19.
The army has stepped up its West Bank activities in an attempt to crack down on the spiraling violence. The ensuing raids sparked clashes that left at least 26 Palestinians dead. Many of those took part in the clashes, while others appeared to have been civilians.
In an unusual move, Hamas’s military wing claimed a shooting attack in the West Bank settlement of Ariel on Friday that left an Israeli security guard dead.
The “heroic” attack “will not be the last one, with God’s help,” the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades said.
Palestinians and Israeli forces have clashed repeatedly at the Temple Mount over the past few weeks. The violence echoed scenes from last year when rioting at the site helped spark a war between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups led by Hamas.
Ever since the May 2021 war, Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, has threatened to fire rockets at Israel if it violated the organization’s “red lines” in Jerusalem. The terror group has hailed its “deterrence” against Israel in the contested capital as a key achievement of the war, which wrought widespread destruction in Gaza.
Sinwar said on Saturday that the terror group “will not hesitate to take any steps” if Israel “violates” Al-Aqsa Mosque.