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Hamas Claims West Bank Attack

Hamas Claims West Bank Attack

Tuesday, 3 May, 2022 - 04:45
Israeli forces in Jerusalem. AFP file photo

Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip said Monday they were behind a recent attack that killed an Israeli in the West Bank, linking it to tensions in Jerusalem.

A statement from Hamas said the Al-Qassam Brigades, the militant movement's military wing, assumed "full responsibility" for the Friday shooting of an Israeli guard in the Ariel settlement that left 23-year-old Vyacheslav Golev dead.

The Hamas claim came two days after the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, one of the main militant groups present in the West Bank operating under the ruling Fatah party, assumed responsibility for the attack.

But Palestinian sources told AFP that the two armed Palestinian suspects arrested on Saturday in the nearby village of Qarawat Bani Hassan were affiliated with Hamas.

The Friday attack was in response to the "brutal aggression of (Israel) against the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque and the worshippers", the Hamas statement said.

At least 42 people had been hurt in clashes that erupted earlier between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The mosque compound is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank, and later annexed, in a move not recognized by most of the international community.

The violence in east Jerusalem has raised fears of another armed conflict similar to an 11-day war last year between Israel and Hamas, triggered in part by similar unrest at Al-Aqsa.

Palestinian Muslims have been angered by an uptick in Jewish visits to the compound, where by long-standing convention Jews may visit but are not allowed to pray.

In a Saturday speech, Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas chief in Gaza, said that further deployment of Israeli forces inside the mosque will lead not only to rocket attacks at Israel but also to the destruction of "thousands of synagogues across the world".

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