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Amnesty demands Hamas condemn Jerusalem bus bombing

April 23, 2016 7:32 P.M. (Updated: April 25, 2016 6:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Amnesty International on Friday demanded that the Hamas movement condemn attacks on civilians after the group claimed a Jerusalem bus bombing that took place earlier this week.

The international rights group said in a statement that “deliberate attacks on civilians” could never be justified, calling on Hamas to reject rather than support such attacks.

Hamas on Wednesday claimed that a 19-year-old Palestinian from Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp believed to be responsible for the attack was a “committed activist” for the group, applauding the teen after he allegedly detonated a bomb on an Israeli bus the day before.

The teen, identified as Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour, died from severe injuries hours after the bombing took place. Twenty others were injured in the blast.

Israeli police confirmed Thursday that Abu Srour was responsible for the attack, while Israel’s police and security agency Shin Bet previously confirmed a Hamas member carried out the bombing. A number of suspected Hamas activists have been detained since.

Amnesty said that while it it was not initially clear that Hamas’ leadership or military wing had ordered the bombing, the potential involvement of the group in the attack was a “worrying development.”

The rights group said that the majority of attacks by Palestinians over the past six months have been carried out by individuals not affiliated with any Palestinian faction, but noted that militant groups have frequently praised the attacks.

Of the nearly 30 Israelis to be killed in the small-scale attacks -- the majority of which were carried out on Israeli military and police -- the rights group condemned attacks that led to the deaths of civilians.

Amnesty also said that the Israeli authorities for their part had an “obligation to uphold international law at all times, including in their response to such attacks,” slamming the number of recently documented cases of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians who posed no threat at the time of their death.

The group added that Israel has increased methods of collective punishment against Palestinians, “demolishing the family homes of attackers, imposing arbitrary restrictions on movement, and carrying out mass arbitrary arrests.”

Hamas -- alongside a number of other Palestinian factions -- immediately after Monday’s Jerusalem bus bombing said it was a "natural reaction" to the decades-long Israeli military occupation.
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