Hamas denounces Turkey over condemnation of Tel Aviv attack

 Palestinian Islamist armed group Hamas has denounced Turkey and Bahrain over their condemnation of last Thursday’s deadly attack in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem denounced the countries, saying the attacks were an act of “resistance” by Palestinians, which is “guaranteed by all international laws,” the newspaper said.

Two people were shot dead and several others were injured when a Palestinian man opened fire into a crowded bar in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. The attack is one of several recent shootings in Israel by Palestinians. 

Hamas called the attack a "natural and legitimate response to the escalation of the occupation's crimes against our people, our land, Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque," the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Turkish Embassy in Israel condemned the attack, expressing concern over the recent increase in such incidents and offering condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack. The embassy also expressed condolences to the government and the people of Israel.

“We denounce and reject these condemnations that stand with the occupation and its crimes against our defenseless people,” the Jerusalem Post cited a committee representing several Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza as saying.

“It would have been more useful for these regimes to be in harmony with the positions of their peoples, who support Palestine and its people and their resistance. We demand that these countries retract the condemnations and apologize to our people,” the statement further added.

Turkey and Israel in recent months have been taking steps to improve relations, which deteriorated markedly since Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish citizens trying to enter Gaza aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship in 2010. 

Turkey’s support for Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States, is also among a string of issues contributing to ongoing political tensions, despite efforts this year at a thaw. Turkey has provided funds and/or citizenship to top Hamas officials, prompting Israeli rebukes.

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