Within minutes of yesterday’s brutal terror attack that killed five people in a Jerusalem synagogue, images and cartoons glorifying the attack began circulating online.
The speed with which images glorifying the killing of Jews with axes and hatchets – which the two terrorists used in their attack – were released demonstrates the ease in which supporters of such brutal attacks can express their support online.
Just last week, a similar social media campaign glorifying terror attacks by running over Israelis with cars was launched.
The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jerusalem and celebrated the operation by promoting the axe as a symbol for “Resistance” via its various social media platforms. (Israeli law enforcement say they are investigating the claim but preliminary evidence indicates that the perpetrators were acting alone.)
The group’s Facebook page featured an image of the two terrorists who committed the attack, Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, with an axe and a message reading, “Oh Zionists, in all the places and by all means, we will harvest your souls.” Another image posted on the group’s Facebook page shows a masked man carrying an axe and distributing candies to celebrate the operation.
The group also posted a statement on the Facebook page soon after the operation, greeting the “Heroic operation executed by the two martyrs Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal,” and calling to “escalate confrontations against the occupiers and the settlers.”
On the group’s Twitter page, a post describes the use of axes in the operation as “creativity in the forms of resistance.”
Other groups have circulated images and cartoons celebrating the use of an axe to attack Jews, including Ajnad News, a West Bank based news organization. A cartoon depicting a man with a knife and hatchet in a synagogue as Jews around him lie in pools of blood or flee out the door, was posted at to Ajnad’s Twitter account at 7:19am (Jerusalem time) – only minutes after the attackers had entered the synagogue at about 7:00am.
Another cartoon shows an image of a hatchet on a car windshield as the car drives towards Jerusalem. And a graphic presents pictures of Orthodox Jews next to image of a moving car wheel, an axe and a gun, and advises readers to learn about news from the Ajnad subscriber service on their phones.
Other images circulating on social media include an image of a frightened Orthodox Jew with a Star of David on his hat surrounded by knives, axes, cars and guns.
The Arabic language
Twitter account for the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, posted images of the aftermath of the account and pictures of the victims and of the perpetrators, as well as a graphic depicting a bloody cleaver and an Israeli emergency medical responder in front of a fiery background. All of the images on the Hamas Twitter feed have been posted multiple times in other locations as well.
Supporters of other terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, have posted images supporting the attack as well. The majority of these are not cartoons but rather images of the aftermath of the attack – perhaps a reflection of the graphic content regularly shared by those terrorist groups.