Outrage as Egyptian tycoon says Palestinian East Jerusalem attacker is 'a terrorist'

Outrage as Egyptian tycoon says Palestinian East Jerusalem attacker is 'a terrorist'
Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris has caused uproar on social media after labelling the Palestinian man behind the Jerusalem attack 'a terrorist'.
2 min read
30 January, 2023
Egypt's second richest man said both attacks were carried out by "terrorists" [Getty/archive]

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has sparked controversy after calling the Palestinian man behind an attack in occupied East Jerusalem last week a "terrorist".

Khairy Alqam killed at least seven Israelis near a synagogue in an East Jerusalem settlement Friday evening. He belonged to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

"The Israelis who committed the Jenin massacre are terrorists, and this young man, may God have mercy on him, is also a terrorist, because whoever kills innocent civilians according to all religions is a terrorist, and terrorism is not solved by terrorism… and God knows best," he wrote on Twitter.

It came in response to another Twitter user, who tagged Sawiris above the picture of the Palestinian attacker and asked him: "Terrorist or martyr, mister Najib?"

The Friday evening attack in Neve Yaakov came a day after Israeli forces stormed the occupied West Bank town of Jenin and killed at least 10 Palestinians.

Both attacks were some of the worst witnessed against both Palestinians and Israelis in recent years.

Responses flooded in after Sawiris’ tweet, with social media users saying the Palestinian attack should not be considered terrorism due to the action taking place in the occupied territories.

"These are settlers in East Jerusalem… not ordinary civilians… they live in [illegal] settlements according to international law…" one Twitter user replied.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the 1967 war against Arab states. The new hard-line Israeli government has vowed to continue settlement construction despite international calls to stop the expansions.

The government has taken punitive measures following Friday’s attack, such as preparing to demolish Alqam's home and looking into arming settlers.