A Palestinian media group has released a video paying 'homage' to the two men that carried out the Sarona Mall attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday (8 June). Entitled, 'Hard Work Pays Off', the 80-second film shows a Palestinian actor breaking his Ramadan fast before getting dressed in a suit and tie and then carrying out the attack.
The video opens with Arabic text stating the date as the third day of Ramadan, which was the same day as the attack – June 8 – before an actor pretending to be one of the killers, Mohammad and Khaled Mukhamara, dresses up as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. It closes with a dramatic re-enactment of the shooting, with one of the killers lying on the ground pointing his index finger in the air.
The video was released by Sling Media, a group that claims to be the media arm for the Palestinian resistance. It frequently uses the phrase "Jerusalem Intifada" in its videos, which have also been shared on social media by other Palestinian resistance groups.
The same group released an additional video was shared in the aftermath of the Tel Aviv attack, called "Ramadan Victories", which shows a Quran, an AK-47, a Palestinian resistance scarf featuring the Dome of the Rock and several bullets. Sling Media also circulated photos of the attackers on the group's Facebook page.
While the group's affiliations remain unclear, Sling Media has a history of producing videos that encourage or celebrate attacks on Israeli civilians, while also praising Hamas militants who have been 'martyred' either in fighting with Israeli forces, or in underground tunnel collapses in the Gaza Strip.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but it has been welcomed by Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah.Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran called it "the first prophecy of Ramadan" and said the location of the attack, close to the Defence Ministry, "indicated the failure of all measures by the occupation" to end the uprising.
Reports also emerged on Thursday that Palestinians in the West Bank were celebrating the Wednesday evening attack in Tel Aviv that killed four people and injured six in an area close to the Israeli military's main headquarters.
Twitter users continued to show their support by tweeting the hashtag عملية_رمضان# meaning Operation Ramadan in Arabic, used in reference to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that commenced on Monday.
Several users referred to victims of the attacks as Zionists, with one user tweeting: 'All Israelis of the Zionist entity are killers and reservists in the armed forces, and not civilians – except children!'
The Saudi-backed news channel Al Arabiya referred to the dead Israelis as victims, causing a backlash against the channel by some Twitter users.
Another account, named Palestine Issues, tweeted a cartoon that praised the 'heroes of Khalil and Yatta' and the 'heroic mission in Tel Aviv which led to the death of 4 Zionists'.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack a "savage crime", while Hamas, regarded by many countries as a terrorist organisation, made a statement in praise of the attackers.
The Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency posted a cartoon showing a hand wrapping a bullet with a Qatayef, a tradition Ramadan dessert, with the caption 'Operation Tel Aviv'.
One day before the attack, Hamas' website had referred to Ramadan as 'The Month Of Jihad'. An article on the site entitled "Ramadan – The Month of Jihad, Fighting and Victory over the Enemies", described how the greatest Muslim victories had always been secured during Ramadan.
Israel severely ramped up travel restrictions on Palestinians following Wednesday's attack.
On the other side of the spectrum, many Twitter supporters used the #JeSuisTelAviv hashtag in support of the victims, echoing the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag used after the Paris attacks of November 2015.
The attack was condemned by a prominent voice in Saudi Arabia as well as in Saudi media al-Arabiya. Dahham al-Enazi, a member of the Saudi Journalists Association, said: "The Tel Aviv attack is terror and thuggery. Our solidarity and support for the Palestinian people does not mean that we accept the killing of innocents and civilians. We would like to extend our condolences to the families of the victims."