Hamas terrorists
Hamas terroristsAbed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Hamas on Tuesday evening welcomed the terrorist attack near Havat Gilad in Samaria, in which Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a 35-year-old father of six, was murdered.

While the group stopped short of claiming responsibility for the shooting attack, it described it as “a natural response to the crimes of the occupation and a continuation of the escalating public activity on behalf of Jerusalem.”

“This action is courageous and heroic, and emphasizes that the resistance continues and is the choice of the Palestinian people. All attempts to cut it down will fail," said the Hamas statement.

The group’s so-called “military wing”, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, later issued a separate statement welcoming the attack.

"The Shechem operation is an initial response on the ground to remind the enemy’s leaders and those behind them that their fears will come true," it warned.

Security forces are continuing their efforts to locate the terrorist or terrorists who murdered Rabbi Shevach.

Following the attack, the head of the IDF Central Command, Major General Roni Numa, conducted an assessment of the situation, together with the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brigadier General Eran Niv, and the Commander of the Samaria Regional Division, Col. Gilad Amit.

During the assessment it was decided on a series of steps to locate the terrorists who carried out the attack, including a full check of the entrances and exits to the city of Shechem (Nablus), the deployment of many forces and the setting up of roadblocks in the area. Additional forces have been sent to the area.