(Photo credit: Flash90)
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has claimed responsibility for a shooting that left an Israeli security guard dead at the entrance of the Ariel settlement in the occupied West Bank on 29 April.
The attack, which was carried out by two Palestinians, marks the first operation claimed by the resistance group in the West Bank since 2018.
The Palestinian gunmen shot the Israeli soldier at point-blank range, then waited to confirm his death before taking a pre-planned escape route.
“This is an episode in a series of responses by Al-Qassam Brigades to the aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the military wing of Hamas said in a statement on 2 May.
This comes a day after a spokesperson for the Israeli military told media that the two Palestinians detained for the attack did not belong to any of the resistance factions.
Tensions have been high since the start of the holy month of Ramadan, as Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers have been carrying out almost daily incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque, violently harassing worshippers by using tear gas and riot gear.
On 1 April, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar called for more attacks against occupation soldiers, saying that the “real battle arena is there.”
On 30 April, Sinwar warned that a major battle to secure Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem will begin after Ramadan if Israel does not stop its continuous violations of the mosque and its worshippers.
Speaking at a conference of Palestinian academics in Gaza on 30 April, Sinwar warned that “the battle to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque will begin after the month of Ramadan because the Zionists have a number of events during which they will try to breach the mosque.”
In the event of an escalation into a major war over Al-Aqsa, Sinwar called on all Palestinians in the 1948 occupied lands to resist the Israeli occupation through any means at their disposal, and called on Palestinian refugees in other countries to storm the borders and enter occupied Palestine.