Gaza based terror group Hamas applauded the cold-blooded murder on Wednesday of a 19-year old IDF solider, Israel daily Ma’ariv reported.
“Hamas welcomes the soldier stabbing in Afula. This is a natural response to the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people and proof of the failure of political negotiations,” a Hamas spokesman said.
Israeli police said the soldier, Eden Atias, 19, from Nazareth Illit, who was still in basic training, was stabbed to death as he slept on the bus to Tel Aviv by 16-year-old Palestinian teenager, Hussein Sharif Rawarda, a resident of a small village outside Jenin, who was residing in Israel illegally. When the bus came to a stop, Rawarda stabbed Attias multiple times, and when he attempted to flee, another soldier and a border policeman, who were also on the bus, caught him.
The assailant said that the killing was motivated by revenge, as his cousins had been imprisoned in Israel, The Times of Israel reported. Muammar Rawarda was sentenced to three life sentences for murdering two Israelis and for the attempted murder of others, while his brother was sentenced to 12 years for various murder attempts, Ma’ariv said. Muammar Rawarda was released after eight years in prison, as part of the swap for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
As Hamas applauded, Israeli President Shimon Peres condemned the attack. Speaking at a ceremony to formally install Bank of Israel Governor Dr. Karnit Flug, Peres said, “We are appalled at this brutal murder. Every soul in Israel is an entire world in our hearts. I am confident that the government will do everything in its power to ensure events like this never happen again.”
Ma’ariv said the IDF has closed access to the suspect’s village and surrounded his home.
Meanwhile, Atias will be buried late Wednesday.