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May 23, 2017 9:42 am

Led by Netanyahu at Yad Vashem, Israelis Offer Solidarity and Prayers for Manchester Terror Victims

avatar by Ben Cohen

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamian Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump arriving at Yad Vashem on Tuesday. Photo: Israel Foreign Ministry.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday strongly condemned the previous night’s suicide bombing outside a pop concert in the English city of Manchester, in which 22 people were murdered and more than 50 were wounded.

Speaking alongside visiting US President Donald Trump at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu emphasized the need to confront the “barbarians…who are sadly still with us.”

“The slaughter of innocents must be unconditionally condemned and unflinchingly confronted no matter where it occurs — in Manchester, San Bernardino or Jerusalem: terror is terror is terror,” Netanyahu said. “We must all unite to defeat it.”

Turning to Trump — who earlier referred to the perpetrators of the Manchester attack, which ISIS has claimed responsibility for, as “evil losers” — Netanyahu continued, “Mr. President, today you called the terrorists losers. I know you agree with me that it’s our job to make sure that they continue to lose. We will defeat them.”

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In a message of support sent to Mark Rylands, the British ambassador to the UN, his Israeli counterpart Danny Danon stated: “We send our condolences to the families of the victims of the horrific attack in Manchester and pray for a speedy recovery for the wounded. Israel stands by your side and we pledge to fight together with you against the forces of terror who seek to harm the free world.”

At the Israeli Embassy in London, the Israeli flag was flown at half-mast as a gesture of sympathy. “Israel stands with you at this difficult time,” Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev tweeted.

In Tel Aviv, Mayor Ron Huldai announced that the municipality building would be lit up with a Union Jack in tribute to the Manchester victims.

Father Gabriel Naddaf, a prominent leader of Israel’s Christian community, also expressed his grief on social media.

Most of the audience attending the Manchester concert of US singer Ariana Grande were in their teens or even younger. Outside the Manchester Arena, parents who had come to collect their children saw the bomb explode as concert-goers left the venue just after 10:30 p.m.

Having endured suicide bombing attacks for over two decades, Israelis are all too familiar with the targeting of venues favored by teenagers and young people. In June 2001, 21 people — including sixteen teenagers — were slain by a Hamas suicide bomber who blew himself up at the entrance to the Dolphinarium discotheque in  Tel Aviv. Another popular Tel Aviv nightspot, Mike’s Place, was attacked by two British Islamist suicide bombers in April 2003, killing three people and wounding 50.

In August 2001, seven children and a pregnant woman were among the 15 victims of the suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, which was attacked during the lunch-time rush.

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