Suicide Bombing in Tel Aviv

Meryl Yourish is keeping tabs on this morning’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv which has killed at least eight innocents.

Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks, which the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian Authority dubbed “legitimate.”

Islamic Jihad, which is believed to be funded in part by Iran and refuses to observe a cease-fire, claimed responsibility in a telephone call to The Associated Press. The group identified the bomber as Sami Salim Mohammed Hammed, from the West Bank town of Jenin. Islamic Jihad later released a video showing Hammed reading a statement saying the bombing was dedicated to the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. “There are many other bombers on the way,” he said.
Hammed, appearing to be in his teens, was dressed in black and wore a headband with yellow Quranic verses written on it.
Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for all six of the previous suicide attacks inside Israel since the cease-fire was declared. On Sunday, the group pledged to carry out more attacks.

The response by Hamas leaders represented a sharp departure from the previous Palestinian leadership’s immediate condemnations of such attacks. “We think that this operation … is a direct result of the policy of the occupation and the brutal aggression and siege committed against our people,” said Khaled Abu Helal, spokesman for the Hamas-led Interior Ministry. Earlier, Moussa abu Marzouk, a Hamas leader abroad, told Al-Jazeera television that “the Israeli side must feel what the Palestinian feels, and the Palestinian defends himself as much as he can.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of the rival Fatah Party, condemned the bombing, calling it a “terrorist attack.”

As Meryl correctly notes, Tel Aviv is not part of the Occupied Territories, so the “defense” argument rings hollow. And it is always convenient that the Palestinian “out” party cheers these murders while the “in” party condemns them while doing nothing.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir said Israel held Hamas ultimately responsible for such attacks because it is “giving support to all the other terrorist organizations.” “From our point of view it doesn’t matter if it comes from Al Aqsa, Islamic Jihad or Hamas. They all come out of the same school of terrorism led by Hamas,” he said.

Quite so.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.