Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Tuesday's terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue, saying that civilians – as well as holy and religious sites – should never be targeted.
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"While we condemn this incident, we also condemn the aggression toward Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy places and torching of mosques and churches," Abbas said at the start of a meeting of the Palestinian security services in Ramallah.
Such attacks, according to Abbas, "violate all religious principles and do not serve the common interest we are trying to promote – establishing a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel."
Abbas stressed to the heads of the Palestinian security forces the urgent need to ease tensions and implement the steps agreed upon in talks last week between Abbas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, which focused on defusing the tensions over the Temple Mount and putting a stop to the violence that has flared up recently in East Jerusalem.
Earlier on Tuesday, Abbas' office said in a statement that "The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer and condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it."
Hamas praised Tuesday morning's attack, describing it as "a quality development in the confrontation with the Israeli occupation."
"The organization welcomes the terror attack, an appropriate and functional response to the crimes of the occupation," the Gaza-based group added.
Palestinians celebrating Jerusalem terror attack, Gaza (Video by Reuters)
Prime Minister Netanyahu said incitement by Hamas and Abbas motivated attacks on Jews. "This is a direct result of the incitement lead by Hamas and Abu Mazen (Abbas), incitement that the international community irresponsibly ignores. We will respond with a firm hand to this brutal murder of Jews who went to pray and were scathed by despicable murder."
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) said that "Abbas, one of the biggest terrorists to have arisen from the Palestinian people, bears direct responsibility for the Jewish blood spilt on tallit and tefillin while we were busy with delusions about the [peace] process."