Hamas hails Jerusalem attack as 'response' to Trump peace plan

A Hamas policeman in Gaza City stands guard during a mourning ceremony organised in honour of slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait) killed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in a US air strike.
A Hamas policeman in Gaza City stands guard during a mourning ceremony organised in honour of slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait) killed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in a US air strike.
Mahmud Hams

Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas hailed a car-ramming in Jerusalem that wounded 12 Israeli troops on Thursday as a "practical response" to US President Donald Trump's controversial Middle East peace plan.

In a statement, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said the attack was part of "resistance" operations, including a series of demonstrations in the occupied West Bank, but he stopped short of claiming responsibility.

"The resistance acts throughout the West Bank - the clashes between our people from the far south of the West Bank to the north, and the resistance operation in the heart of occupied Jerusalem - are a practical response by our people to Trump's announcement of the liquidation deal," Qassem said.

READ | Palestinians cut all ties with Israel, US: Abbas

A 19-year-old Palestinian was shot dead in clashes in Jenin in the northern West Bank on Thursday morning, while a teenager was killed in clashes in the flashpoint southern city of Hebron on Wednesday.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip but is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the US, has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

Plan rejection

READ | Trump peace plan embraced in Israel, rejected by Palestinians

Trump's proposals gave Israel the green light to annex settlements and other territory in the occupied West Bank, while also recognising the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital.

It demanded that Hamas disarm and that Gaza be handed over to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians of all factions rejected Trump's plan, accusing him of bias toward Israel.

Since the plan was announced, near daily rockets and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza toward Israel, sparking retaliatory air and artillery strikes. No casualties have been reported on either side.

In an interview published on Hamas's official website on Thursday, the group's leader Ismail Haniya rejected calls to disarm and said the group would "continue in our strategy of building up force, including in the West Bank and Jerusalem, until we can liberate our homeland".

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