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April 19, 2016

JCRC CONDEMNS JERUSALEM BUS BOMBING AND DISCOVERY OF HAMAS 'TERROR TUNNEL' FROM GAZA INTO ISRAEL

Minneapolis, MN — Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement in solidarity with the people of Israel who are suffering from a six-month wave of terror attacks, including yesterday's bombing of a Jerusalem bus, in which 21 people were injured, including a 15 year-old girl, and the discovery of a 'terror tunnel' from Gaza into Israel:

"Yesterday, in an act of terrorism, a #12 bus exploded in Jerusalem. Police and rescue officials confirm that 21 people suffered from both blast injuries and burns in the bombing, including a 15 year-old girl who remains in serious condition. This latest attack, broke a relative calm in Israel's capital, which came on the heels of a six-month wave of stabbings, shootings, and vehicular attacks. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the people of Israel.

"While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bus bombing, Hamas released a statement in which the terrorist organization said it 'blesses the Jerusalem operation, and considers it a natural reaction to Israeli crimes, especially field executions and desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque.'

"Notably, the current wave of terror began around the time that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decreed that, '[e]very drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem is holy blood as long as it was for Allah. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded, Allah willing. ... The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours, and [the Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.'

"Additionally, this latest act of horrific terror coincides with the acknowledgment by the Israel Defense Forces that earlier this month it had discovered and neutralized a 'terror tunnel' inside Israeli territory which originated from Gaza. This tunnel, which was constructed by Hamas (presumably with stolen international aid dollars and building supplies intended for civilian use) was located approximately 100 feet below ground, had been fortified with concrete slabs, and featured electrical lines and a rail system. During the 51-day conflict with Hamas in 2014, 34 such tunnels, which were built by Hamas to terrorize, kidnap, and murder Israelis, were discovered and destroyed by Israeli forces.

"Finally, yesterday's bus bombing along with the discovery of the 'terror tunnel' places into proper perspective the extremely difficult situation the people of Israel find themselves in as they are besieged by terrorists on all sides. Reflexive calls for 'both sides' to exercise restraint and the ongoing soft bigotry of no expectations for the Palestinian leadership are intolerable. Now, more than ever, is the time to speak with one voice and condemn this ongoing violence for what it is: homicidal nihilism and the logical fruit of decades of unchecked anti-Semitism."

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As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.