In their first interview with Israeli media the family of Hamas terrorist Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour, who last Monday blew up a bus in southeastern Jerusalem wounding 15 and killing himself, blamed Israel for the attack and said the bombing was "self-defense."
Speaking to Walla on Monday from their home in Al-Aida adjacent to Bethlehem in Judea, the family clarified that it is wealthy, and that 19-year-old Abu Srour even had his own car, but nevertheless went out and detonated a bomb packed with nails on a number 12 line bus in the capital.
The family claimed that it had no idea Abu Srour was a member of Hamas' "military wing," the Al-Qassam Brigades – even though his mother Um Ahmad released a picture of him wearing a Hamas scarf after the attack, saying he asked her to distribute the image after his death.
Abu Srour also posted numerous messages on Facebook threatening Jews with "revenge" for the killing of terrorists by the IDF, adding extra doubt to his family's claimed ignorance.
Walla journalist Avi Issacharoff described how the "refugee camp" hometown of the bus bomber – the first bus bomber in the current Arab terror wave – was filled with posters and pictures of the terrorist praising him as a "martyr." In the posters, he was seen pictured in an expensive Armani shirt.
The mourner's tent for Abu Srour was set up at the Al-Aida youth center, and numerous Hamas signs were posted there as well as green Hamas flags and yellow Fatah flags. The bus bomber was touted as a "heroic martyr" at the tent, with his picture appearing alongside other terrorists.
While armed Hamas terrorists reportedly were asked to leave the men's section of the mourner's tent, they were greeted with ululations of joy in the women's section, and kissed Abu Srour's mother on the head.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh even called Abu Srour's family from Gaza, and his words were broadcast live at the mourner's tent.
Likewise when Hamas announced Abu Srour was a member of the terrorist group, hundreds of youths in Al-Aida took to the streets in cries of joy and a demonstration of support for Hamas, even as elderly women threw candies at them.
A past of lying
But according to Abu Srour's father Abu Ahmad, the family had no idea of his Hamas ties, and if they had they would have stopped him.
The bomber's mother Um Ahmad told Walla that "the day it happened I didn't even suspect that it was him. I didn't even imagine that it was my Abd. He was so not like that."
Smiling, she said, "his thinking was simple, childish. He would sit and tell me a whole story, and finish it, and I would be convinced, and then I would find out that he tricked me. I even told him: 'you should be an actor.'"
Um Ahmad sat with the men dressed in modern clothes and without a head covering, indicating the secular and wealthy nature of the family. She works as an Arabic teacher at a school in Bethlehem.
Her father was killed in 1981 when the Israeli Air Force bombed territory controlled by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terrorist organization. She was born in Syria, and only moved to Bethlehem in the early 1990s.
"Only you Israelis are guilty"
Abu Srour's father, Abu Ahmad, claimed to be in disbelief over his son's actions and said he would have stopped him if he knew, claiming ignorance of his membership in Hamas.
He noted that he reported his son's disappearance to the Palestinian police a day after the attack, and then was brought to identify the body.
Abu Ahmad then blamed Israel for his son's terror attack, saying, "I never educated him (to be) like this. But you know who is guilty for it? Only you Israelis. You led an entire generation to this. You and your government."
"You Israelis need to ask yourselves what caused a child like this, and he is a child, to want to do an act like this. And I tell you – Israel is responsible. It is the one that brought this generation to act like this. This generation has no future, no work," he continued, despite clarifying that his 19-year-old son had his own car and their family is wealthy.
"The next generation, the little children, will be even more dangerous. Here, you're a Jew and we receive you with respect here. So let them stop thinking that we Palestinians are violent."
But despite the father's protestations, Abu Srour is in fact not the only terrorist in the family.
A relative of the bomber, Nasser Abu Srour, is currently serving a life sentence for murder. Back in 1993 the terrorist murdered his Israeli Security Agency (ISA) handler Chaim Nahmani, and later from jail he warned that there would be more intifada terror wars.
Also adding question marks to Abu Ahmad's claimed moderation is the fact that in Palestinian media, family members and acquaintances of the bus bomber expressed their support for the attack, and even said the infamous Hamas bomb maker Yahya Ayyash, known as "the engineer," was the person who Abu Srour most admired.
Bomber's mom: "It was self-defense"
The terrorist's mother Um Ahmad told the Israeli news site that her son's decision to detonate a bomb on a Jerusalem bus "was an act of self-defense."
"As a civilized person, it is hard for me to do something like that. Maybe I would have acted differently, maybe with the pen, maybe through writing, but everyone has their own path of resistance," she said, justifying the bombing shortly after her husband claimed he would have stopped their son if he knew about it.
When asked about the fact that Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued a condemnation of the bombing, she responded, "in my opinion Abbas does not represent the Palestinian nation."
Regarding the possibility that the family home will be demolished as a deterrent measure, Abu Srour's father said, "please, let them come. In two months we'll build 20 homes."
"You Jews need to understand something: Abd al-Hamid didn't come from a poor family. He came from a wealth family, in a good economic situation, he had a car of his own. (It's a) family with properties and funds."
"Today every Palestinian home will welcome us with a blessing," he said, noting the hero status afforded by his terrorist son. "We will build a much more magnificent house if they demolish our family home. This is a cultured home, with manners, with respect, with education, which opposes violence."