The bus bombing in Tel Aviv on Wednesday is claimed to be the work of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a group linked to the Palestinian Fatah party that controls the West Bank, Palestinian sources said.
Initial reports, published by BBC and others said Hamas claimed responsibility for the terror attack, were later refuted by Hamas, after other reports said the attack was jointly coordinated between Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The Israel Project, in an analysis published in early October noted a joint war room set up by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a potential signal that Hamas was preparing to escalate its conflict with Israel.
Hamas Recants Bombing Claim
Hamas, the Iran-backed group that controls the Gaza Strip, is now reported to have “blessed” the attack, not executed it. They and their operatives boasted about the bombing on social media and celebrated it on Hamas TV. To celebrate the Israeli wounded, sweet cakes were provided at the main hospital in the Gaza Strip.
All Palestinian groups, including the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority,that is supported by the UN, US and EU, often celebrate their suicide bombers, that they call “shahids” or “martyrs.” In March this year, Hamas celebrated the 10th anniversary of a mass suicide bombing, in which 36 were killed and 150 injured.
Palestinian Authority TV Honored Suicide Bombers in July this year, saying the suicide bombers who killed 19 civilians on buses are “more honored than all of us.”
Anti-Israel, Anti-Clinton Protests
The competing claim of responsibility by the Fatah-linked group comes as Arabic media outlets report spreading West Bank protests against Israel and against U.S. Secretary of State Clinton.
Mosques in the north side of the West Bank, at Nablus, and the south, at Hebron, this afternoon initiated demonstrations, calling from their loudspeakers after the day’s third prayer. Commentators say this raises speculation that Hamas aims to escalate the situation in the territory, also calling attention to Fatah’s role in maintaining West Bank security.
There has been increasing suppression of Palestinians in the West Bank, by Israeli forces, usually assisted by Fatah security. Fatah security officers usually block large protests from starting. There is pro-Hamas sentiment in the West Bank.
International Condemnation Of The Bus Bombing
The UN, US, UK, and France lead international condemnation of the bus bombing. It is considered a crime of terrorism under the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, to which every EU state, including the UK, is a party.
The Israel Project, which contributed information for this report is posting live updates on the aftermath of the bombing online.