Hamas leaders on Wednesday took to social media to praise a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv that morning, expressing hopes that similar attacks will follow.
Three weeks after an instructional video on stabbing attributed to Hamas emerged online, movement members gleefully extolled the bus assault, heralding it as a sign of things to come.
“A morning of resistance, a morning for the nation,” wrote Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum on his Facebook page, above a photo of a black-handled combat knife lying on the pavement encircled by police tape.
Gaza-based Hamas official Husam Badran praised the act on Facebook as “extraordinary” and called for more “acts of resistance” either by individuals or groups.
Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau based in Qatar, called the attack “heroic and brave,” adding that it is “the natural response to the crimes of the occupation and its terror against our people.”
There was no official response from the Palestinian Authority or its president Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee at noon in Ramallah.
Aside from a laconic report on the attack at 9:23 a.m., the official Wafa news agency remained mum.
The Popular Resistance Committees, an umbrella groups of smaller armed factions, said the attack was a “natural reaction to all Israeli crimes against Palestinians, their lands and religious sites,” the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
The PRC added that “resistance attacks will not stop.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Abbas and Hamas for the attack, pointing to instances of Palestinian incitement to violence.
Fatah published photos of the man said to be the terrorist, 23-year-old Hamza Matrouk from Tulkarem refugee camp, lying handcuffed on the ground after being arrested by police.
In its initial report on Facebook, the movement called the attack “an act of sacrifice.”
Meanwhile, caricatures praising the attack began to emerge on Hamas-affiliated news websites.
Safa News Agency published an image of a knife painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag dripping blood and a tarnished Israeli flag in the background, with the caption “Good morning Palestine.”
Another cartoon depicted the perpetrator holding a bloodied knife, gloating over the stabbing of ten Israelis, with a sign reading “occupied Tel Aviv” in the background.