Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud AbbasSTR/Flash 90

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused on Friday evening to condemn the terrorist attack near Otniel, saying only that the Palestinian people “live under difficult conditions” caused by “the Israeli occupation”.

The comments came in a news conference Abbas held with the visiting President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades.

Abbas did not specifically refer to the attack, in which terrorists sprayed a car with bullets and killed a man and his son, speaking only of the general situation in the region.

He would only say that the Palestinian people are living under unacceptable difficult conditions "as a result of the continued Israeli occupation and the escalation of settler attacks against Palestinian property and their holy places, which bring them to a state of despair and pressure."

Earlier, both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad welcomed the attack, with Hamas praising what it called the "heroic operation carried out by the resistance south of Hevron."

The attack, said the terrorist organization, "represents a qualitative development in the Al-Quds Intifada. It proves that the resistance can deter the occupation, which only understands the language of force".

Similarly, the Islamic Jihad said that the attack was a response to "the crime committed by the occupation in the Hevron hospital yesterday", a reference to the IDF’s operation to apprehend a wanted terrorist who was in a hospital in Hevron. The terrorist's cousin was killed during the operation after he resisted arrest.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)