President of Palestinian Territories Mahmoud Abbas has said the suspected shooter of Israeli activist Yehudah Glick will go to heaven as a martyr.
Abbas made the comment in a letter he wrote to the family of Moataz Hijazi, the alleged shooter, after he was killed by Israeli forces.
"With anger, we have received the news of the vicious assassination crime committed by the terrorists of the Israeli occupation army against [your] son Mu'taz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi, who will go to heaven as a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places," Abbas wrote.
Glick – a supporter of greater Israeli control over the Al-Aqsa compound, also known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount plaza, a site holy to both – was shot and wounded by a gunman on a motorcycle.
Hijazi was killed in a raid on his house in east Jerusalem, hours after the shooting. According to Israeli authorities, the alleged gunman was killed after he had resisted arrest and opened fire on policemen.
Abbas' letter was condemned by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
"While we're trying to calm tempers, Abu Mazen [Abbas] sends a condolence letter for the death of someone who attempted to commit a despicable murder. It's time the international community condemn him for such deeds," Netanyahu said in a statement.
The letter "testifies more than anything else to the fact that Abbas is indeed a partner: a partner for terror, a partner to terrorists, a partner of murderers," Lieberman said in a statement on Facebook.
Glick's shooting followed days of unrest in Jerusalem, after Muslims were barred from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem.
The closure of Al-Aqsa compound triggered a heated statement from Abbas.
"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted him as saying.