TEL AVIV – The U.S. blasted the “reprehensible and cowardly” attack in Jerusalem in which an Arab terrorist shot and killed two Israelis and injured six others. It also slammed Palestinian factions for celebrating the shooting.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party posted a message earlier in the day praising the attack and the “shahid,” or “martyr,” who committed it.
39-year-old Mousabah Abu Sabih, a resident of Silwan in east Jerusalem and a full Israeli citizen, shot and killed a 60-year-old Israeli woman and 29-year-old police officer. Six others were injured.
Palestinians were seen celebrating the attack by distributing sweets at traffic lights to drivers.
A law student dining in a café at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, less than a mile from where the attack took place, said that when news broke of the deaths, Arab workers at the café laughed and celebrated among themselves.
“They started to sing and clap,” Karko told Arutz 7. “You could see the joy on their faces, really.”
“There will always be nuts and crazies who will take out a knife and stab. But when they get support from a whole sector … and I didn’t see any one of them try to stop this. No one in the group thought to even let the dead bodies get cold before they escalated to shouting and screaming.”
Hamas declared the assailant to be a member of the terror group and praised the shooting as “heroic” and “brave.”
Meanwhile, the terrorist’s daughter released a video expressing pride in her father’s actions.
“We’re very happy and proud of our father,” she said. “My father is a great man.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in a separate statement said the attack was “a natural reaction to the continued crimes of the occupation against Palestinians and the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The U.S. State Department released a statement Sunday saying it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack that took place today in Jerusalem, which resulted in the death of two Israelis and injured several others.”
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick and full recovery for those wounded,” the statement continued. “There is absolutely no justification for the taking of innocent lives. We also condemn the statements glorifying this reprehensible and cowardly attack.”
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also decried the “deplorable” attack and condemned Hamas for its ongoing promotion of violence.
Mladenov issued a statement saying he condemned the “terror attack by a Palestinian perpetrator in occupied East Jerusalem which killed two Israelis and injured six others.”
“Nothing can justify such attacks. My thoughts are with the families and friends of all victims, and I hope for a full and speedy recovery of the wounded,” Mladenov wrote.
“It is deplorable and unacceptable that Hamas and others choose to glorify such acts which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis,” he added.
Israeli watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch reported that the Fatah party posted on its Facebook page an announcement saying, “The one who carried out the operation today in Jerusalem is a pilgrim [to Mecca] Martyr.”
The Jerusalem branch of the Fatah party posted a message announcing a general strike and mourning “in memory of the souls of the Martyrs of Palestine and this morning’s Martyr.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also hailed the attack as “heroic.”
According to independent Palestinian news agency Ma’an, the terrorist responsible for the attack was slated to turn himself in to prison at that exact time after being convicted and sentenced to four months in jail for assaulting a Jerusalem police officer in 2013.