TEL AVIV – One of the three gunmen who carried out a deadly terror attack Friday morning at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem posted on Facebook shortly before the shooting, saying “Our smile tomorrow will be more beautiful, Allah willing.”
The post, which was accompanied by a selfie of two of the attackers standing at the holy site, attracted more than 1,000 comments in under an hour, most of them from well-wishers.
“May Allah’s mercy be on you in the gardens of the immortality, O Martyrs of dignity and honor,” one Facebook user responded.
Another, Naseer Abu Soud wrote: “To the Gardens of Blessings … Allah will have mercy on you and will grant you the highest Paradise.”
Samah Othman wrote: “And do not think those who were killed in the way of Allah dead, but will live with their Lord. Happy with what Allah has given them of his bounty and preach to those who did not follow them from behind, do not fear for them nor grieve. … Allah makes your highest Paradise.”
The Facebook post has since been removed, probably for violating the social media platform’s terms and services.
The three gunmen, who came from the Israeli-Arab town of Umm al-Fahm but did not belong to any terror group, shot and killed Druze police officers Haiel Sitawe, 30 and Kamil Shnaan, 22. They fired several rounds before running back towards the Dome of the Rock where police officers shot them. A video clip shows one of the attackers lying on the ground having been “neutralized” by security forces. However, a second later, the attacker is shown getting to his feet and trying to attack the officers. The attacker was then shot and killed.
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack.
“The Jerusalem operation is a natural response to the Israeli terrorism and desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque. It confirms that the intifada continues and that our people are united behind the resistance,” he wrote.
Following the attack, Israeli security forces closed the site and set up security checks around the Old City. On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the Temple Mount would be gradually reopened on Sunday with several additional security measures installed including metal detectors and security cameras.