Confusion persists over who was really behind the attack on the Jerusalem seminary which left eight Israelis dead.
Although Reuters has quoted an annonymous source as saying Hamas was responsible for the attack, the organisation itself has yet to officially declare responsibility.
Hours after the anonnymous source was quoted by Reuters however, a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing in Gaza, Abu Ubaida, told Al Jazeera television the attack was “an honour we have not claimed yet”.
The confusion has led to speculation in some quarters that the attack was an Israeli covert false flag operation.
Israel has yet to explicitly name Hamas as being responsible for the attack. Although it has cited the group’s praise of it as proof that it was “not only the enemy of Israel but of all of humanity”.
Hizbollah’s satellite television station Al-Manar reported that a previously unknown group called the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh was responsible for the yeshiva atrocity. But the claim has not yet been verified and it is still not clear that the group even exists.
The attack came a week after Israeli incursions into Gaz left 120 Palestinians dead, many of whom were civilians, including children and a toddler too.
The Israeli operations in Gaza generated a groundswell of opinion against the Zionist state in the West. Leading to speculation that Israel was behind the seminary attack in an effort to redeem itself and again cast Israel as the victim of terror rather the its perpatrator.
Thursday’s killings were carried out by by a ‘lone gunman’ armed with a pistol and a Kalashnikov AK47 and he had planned his attack with considerable attention to detail. He clearly knew where most of the yeshiva students would be congregated, and probably that a large number had gathered for celebrations on the eve of the Jewish festival of Purim.
He also somehow managed to evade the tight security surrounding the West Bank and infiltrate the Jerusalem seminary, with some reports suggesting that he did so dressed as a yeshiva student.
Either way the attack has provoked a strong response on both sides.
In the aftermath of the killings a Hamas message –”this is God’s vengeance” – was transmitted over loudspeakers in the Gaza, presumably referring to the Israeli offensive in Gaza which ended on Monday,
While Avi Dichter, the Israeli Interior Minister, told mourners at Friday’s funerals that Arabs in East Jerusalem should be expelled to the West Bank if found to be involved in militant activity.
Nonetheless the idea that Israel may have been behind Thursday’s attack is not so absurd. After all the Zionist state has a history of launching false flag attacks on friend and foe alike.
Israeli covert operatives have frequently masqueraded as Palestinians and Israeli military commanders have openly admitted that units impersonating terrorists are a key asset in the West Bank.
A damming list of supposed “terrorist” atrocities have been linked to Israel and its Intelligence service Mossad: whose motto by the way is “By way of deception thou shalt wage war”.
All of which should tell us that any terror attack on Israel or its citizens should be viewed with the utmost scepticism and caution.
So ultimately the real beneficiary of Thursday’s attacks may be Israel itself. As the Zionist state seeks to restore its image as the beleaguered victim of terror rather than its covert sponsor and perpetrator.