Hamas said on Saturday that the Palestinians won’t be deterred by Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir’s threats to impose harsh security measures against the residents of east Jerusalem in response to Friday’s terror attack in the city’s Ramot neighborhood.
Six-year-old and eight-year-old boys and a 20-year-old man were killed and four others injured in the car-ramming terror attack, which was carried out by Hussein Qaraqe, a resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya.
Ben-Gvir said shortly after the attack that he ordered police to set up checkpoints around Issawiya and to prepare for a large-scale security operation “to deal with the terror nests in east Jerusalem.”
Hamas and other Palestinian factions welcomed the attack
Mohammed Hamadeh, a Hamas spokesperson, said that Ben-Gvir has “failed in his dealings with the resistance and stands helpless in the face of the steadfastness of our great people and their resistance.”
Hamadeh said Ben-Gvir’s threats “won’t change the equation with the occupation.” He called on the Palestinians to increase their presence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, saying this was “one of the important factors to keep the situation on fire.”
Hamadeh and representatives of several Palestinian factions, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), praised the car-ramming attack, saying it was a “natural response to Israeli crimes.” They added that the attack affirms that the Palestinians support the “resistance” and that they won’t be deterred by Israel’s “punitive measures.”
Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesperson Tareq Izzadin said the “heroic” attack shows that the Palestinians are “proceeding with the resistance to end the occupation.”
Friday’s attack came amid efforts by Egypt to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Last week, the Egyptians invited Hamas and PIJ leaders to Cairo for talks with the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel.
Palestinian sources said the Egyptians, at the behest of the US administration, have exerted heavy pressure on the leaders of Hamas and PIJ, Ismail Haniyeh and Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, to work towards calming the situation and avoiding an all-out confrontation with Israel, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts next month.