The Hamas terrorist organization claimed responsibility on Monday for the murder of the 23-year-old Israeli security guard Vyacheslav Golev at the entrance of the Jewish town Ariel in Samaria on Friday night.
Golev, who was stationed to guard the entrance alongside his fiancée Victoria Fligelman, saved her life by shielding her body from the bullets.
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, placed the terror attack within the wider context of the recent tensions on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
“This operation comes within a series of responses to the defiling of our al-Aqsa [Mosque] and aggression against it,” declared the Qassam Brigades.
"We declare our full responsibility for the Salfit operation that took place last Friday, and we affirm that it is a link in the chain of al-Qassam's responses to the aggression on al-Aqsa," added the terrorist group with a reference to the nearby Arab town Salfit.
The statement was reportedly the first time that Hamas had officially taken credit for a terror attack since the recent terror wave against Israel in March, which has so far claimed the lives of fifteen Israelis.
At the same time, Hamas warned the Jewish state that the recent terrorist attack “won’t be the last.”
Hamas, which is an offshoot from the radical Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, explicitly advocates the destruction of the Jewish state and has carried out many lethal terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians over the years.
While Hamas rules the Gaza Strip with an iron fist, it has limited influence in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank. However, Hamas has repeatedly tried to undermine its political rival, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, by instigating violence and terror in the West Bank.
Following an intense 20-hour long manhunt over the weekend, Israeli security forces arrested the two terrorists who murdered Golev.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed that the Jewish state would hunt down any terrorist who attacks Israeli civilians.
“There is no terrorist whom we will not reach and settle account with. Our war with terrorism is lengthy. Together we will win,” declared Bennett.
“I would like to convey my condolences to the family of the security guard who was murdered as he protected his colleague from the terrorist with his body last night in Ariel,” added the Israeli premier.
During a fiery speech on Saturday, Hamas’ Gaza chief, Yahya Sinwar, praised the recent terror attacks carried out against Israel. He also threatened Israel with more terrorism and a regional religious war if the Jewish state “violates” the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
“Our people must prepare for a great battle if the occupation does not cease its aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque. Violating al-Aqsa and Jerusalem means a regional, religious war,” warned Sinwar.
While Sinwar was referring to Israeli police officers entering the al-Aqsa Mosque during the latest riots, the Hamas chief failed to mention the Islamist rioters violated the mosque themselves by using it as a battleground against the Jewish state.
Despite Hamas bein guided by radical Jihadism, the largely Gaza-based terror group has insisted that it differs from other Jihadist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida because it fights against the “Israeli occupation.” However, the Hamas Charter is widely considered one of the most extreme anti-Semitic documents published since the Holocaust.
“Whoever takes the decision to repeat this scene (of a deployment inside the mosque) will be taking the decision to destroy thousands of synagogues across the world,” said Sinwar while pointing at a photo with Israeli police officers dealing with rioters inside the famous mosque in Jerusalem.
The al-Aqsa Mosque is considered the third holiest site in Islam. The Temple Mount, on which the mosque is built, is the holiest site in Judaism.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.