Hamas backtracks on Jerusalem attack claim

March 8th, 2008 - 5:27 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Gaza, March 8 (RIA Novosti) Palestinian radical group Hamas has backtracked on its earlier claim that it was responsible for Thursday’s shooting in a Jerusalem seminary that left eight dead and ten injured. The management at the Hamas-run al-Aqsa radio station said Friday that the statement had gone on air prematurely and was based on unverified information.

A Palestinian gunman shot eight students dead, before being gunned down, in the library of a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, in the worst terrorist attack the city had seen in four years.

Earlier Friday, a Hamas radio presenter claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was “a great victory granted by Allah”, and a “promised massive and staggering response to crimes” perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

More than 120 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed this week in Israeli military operations in Gaza, which has been controlled by Hamas since a bloody conflict with the moderate pro-presidential group Fatah last June.

Israeli military officials said the gunman was from Arab-dominated East Jerusalem. Residents in this area are able to travel to any part of Israel, a right denied to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israeli authorities imposed major security measures in the West Bank and Jerusalem following the attack.

The leaders of Israel, most world powers, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, which came just after a visit to Israel by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who persuaded Abbas to resume peace talks with Israel.

The Palestinian leader broke off the negotiations in protest against Israeli military’s offensive in Gaza. Israel and the Palestinian National Authorities are yet to make formal statements on the future of peace talks.

In an interview with the Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera, Abu Ubaida, spokesman for a Hamas military wing, said the group was not prepared to claim responsibility for the shooting.

“When we get the details of the operation, we will probably have grounds for such a statement. But for security reasons we often do not publicly claim responsibility for many of our operations,” he said.
RIA Novosti

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