The PJ Tatler

State Dept. Urges 'All Sides' to 'Avoid Escalating Tensions' After Terrorist Kills American Baby

The State Department condemned yesterday’s terrorist attack in which the assailant rammed his car into a group of people waiting at a light-rail station, killing a 3-month-old.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in a brief statement. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.”

“We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” Psaki added.

The Times of Israel reported that the attacker, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, 21, is the nephew of late Hamas chief bomb-maker Mohiyedine Sharif. Shaludi was shot while trying to flee the scene.

The victim, Chaya Zissel Braun, had just been taken on her first trip to see the Western Wall, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In statements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed the baby girl’s murder, as reported by the Post:

“The attack in Jerusalem is an act of heroism and a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and our holy places,” said Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas spokesperson.

“The attack in Jerusalem is a natural response to what is taking place in the city, given the harassment and overall attacks of Judaization affecting our holy places and Muslims,” said another Hamas official, Salah Baradwil.

Hamas warned that the latest developments may augur the next “Palestinian intifada in Jerusalem.”

Islamic Jihad released an official statement on Thursday through its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, saying: “There is Zionist aggression against all of our people, and today the resistance responded to this attack. This is a natural right.”

“This attack is a strong response to the Israeli occupation, whose crimes are unable to break the resistance,” the organization said.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad called on the Palestinian Authority to “halt its security coordination with Israel and to act in resistance in the West Bank.”

The two groups also praised the residents of east Jerusalem “for their fierce stance against the crimes of the occupation.”

“This is how Abu Mazen’s partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited toward a terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Seven were wounded in the attack.