Gaza's streets filled with joyous crowds of thousands on Thursday evening following the terror attack at a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary in which eight people were killed.
In mosques in Gaza City and northern Gaza, many residents went to perform the prayers of thanksgiving.
Armed men fired in the air in celebration and others passed out sweets to passersby.
Hamas stopped just short of claiming responsibility but issued a statement saying the group "blesses the (Jerusalem) operation. It will not be the last,'' Hamas said in a statement.
Cheering in Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
An Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmed told Ynet the blame for the attack lay with Israel for its operations in Gaza. "The responsibility lies with those who killed 130 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them
children," he said. "We welcome this heroic act and strengthen the hands of those who carried it out. This is only the first of many responses the Palestinian people are planning."
The spokesman, a member of the organization's military wing – the al-Quds Brigades – said Israel is "reaping what it has sown in the Strip. Those who carried out the attack have brought great pride and raised the heads of the Palestinians."
The 'Galilee Freedom Brigades' – an Israeli-Arab group - has claimed responsibility for the attack. The organization has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks in Israel in the past.
Initial estimates indicate the gunman was a resident of east Jerusalem and likely possessed the blue ID card given to Israeli citizens.
The attack came a day after Rice persuaded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace talks with Israel. Abbas briefly suspended talks to protest an Israeli offensive in Gaza.
At his West Bank headquarters, Abbas harshly criticized the attack. ''The president condemned all attacks that target civilians, whether they are Palestinian or Israeli.''