Palestinian official denies calling Ariel terror attack ‘criminal’

After Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of calling Sunday’s deadly terror attack on several Israelis “criminal,” the spokesman for PA security forces disavowed the alleged condemnation.

By World Israel News Staff

In an apparent attempt to portray the Palestinian Authority (PA) as opposing terror attacks on Israelis, a pro-Hamas website called Palestine Now claimed that official PA spokesman Adnan Al-Damiri characterized as “criminal” the attack launched on Sunday in Ariel that claimed the lives of two Israelis.

The attack in question was perpetrated by Amar Abu Leilah, 20, from the Arab village of Zevayah near Ariel, who stabbed and shot IDF soldier Gal Keidan and then fired on father of 12 Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, who drew his weapon and was prepared to fire at Leilah. Both men succumbed to their injuries.

In response to the attack, Palestine Now declared, “The Palestinian resistance factions welcomed the operation, described it as ‘heroic,’ and called to escalate the confrontation with the Israeli occupation, while Official Spokesman of the PA Security Forces . . . Adnan Al-Damiri described the operation as ‘criminal,'” reported Arabic-language media watchdog Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

In response, Al-Damiri denied making the statement, referring to the Palestine Now report as “lies and falsehoods attributed to [him],” claiming that the statements were “an attempt to distract from the Hamas Movement’s actions against the citizens in the Gaza districts, in light of the peaceful We Want to Live protest,” reported Palestinian news outlet Ma’an.

Meanwhile, the PA claimed that prior to committing the attack  Leilah had posted to Facebook, “Your head is held high, our [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, we have sworn allegiance to you before Allah and before all of the people,” PMW reported.

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Following the attack, Gaza residents distributed sweets to celebrate the murders with a sign reading, “Hamas welcomes the heroic operation.”

As of Monday evening, the IDF’s massive manhunt continued in search of Leilah, who remains at large.