Throngs of Palestinians took to the streets on Thursday night to celebrate the brutal slaying of an Israeli couple in a shooting attack in the West Bank.
The festivities included the launching of fireworks and the waving of flags in the streets, Ofir Gendelman, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Gendelman posted on Twitter a photo of the scene. Most of the flying banners were of the Palestinian Fatah faction, the armed wing of which claimed responsibility for the attack that killed Eitam and Naama Henkin.
Revelers in Nablus, near the site of the shooting, set off fireworks, he said, adding that Palestinians on social media networks were “ecstatic” about the killings.
The Henkins, who were in their early 30s, were shot dead on Thursday night in northern Samaria while travelling in their vehicle near the Palestinian village of Beit Furik.
Paramedics found them at the scene with bullet wounds to their torsos. Their four children, who were in the backseat of the car, were unharmed. The couple was buried on Har Hamenuchot in the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday morning.
Leading members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas‘ Fatah party, Azzam Al-Ahmad and General Sultan Abu Al-Einen, praised the attack, Gendelman said.
He added that General Al-Einen, who serves as Abbas’ adviser on NGOs, called for more attacks on Israelis.
Rival Palestinian terror group Hamas also applauded the attack. Spokesman Husam Badran congratulated Palestinians on the killings and referred to the shooting as a “heroic operation.”
Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner said on Thursday that the IDF will deploy four battalions in the West Bank to prevent an escalation of violence and to search for the gunmen. He called the incident a “ruthless, heinous barbaric attack.”