On Friday night, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on Jews leaving a synagogue in East Jerusalem. At least seven Israelis were killed and dozens more were hurt. East Jerusalem was the site of the attack.
The Israeli police say that the suspect, who hasn’t been named yet, was shot and killed soon after their officers got to the scene.
Local news sources said that the attack happened as people from the Israeli settlement of Neve Yaakov were leaving a synagogue. A young person and an older woman were both hurt in the accident.
On Friday night, police sirens could be heard all over East Jerusalem as officials closed off the area. The attack happened on Holocaust Memorial Day, not long after the Jewish holy day of Shabbat had started.
Israeli police say that the attacker drove up to the scene around 8:15 p.m. local time, pulled out a handgun, and started shooting. Seven people were killed and three more were hurt.
After that, he supposedly “ran away,” but the police caught him in five minutes and shot him to death. In one of the local news stories, the shooter was said to be a young Palestinian man from East Jerusalem.
It looked like the bloodiest attack in Jerusalem since the Har Nof synagogue shooting in 2014, when Palestinian terrorists killed four rabbis and a police officer during an attack on the synagogue.
The Israeli operation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, in which nine people, including an old woman, were killed, had already raised tensions in Israel and the West Bank to dangerous levels.
It wasn’t clear right away if the attack in Jerusalem was caused by Islamic Jihad. A spokesman for the US State Department named Vedant Patel called the attack “heinous.”
“This situation is terrible in every way. Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the families of those who died in this horrible act of violence. This supposed act of terrorism is being slammed by us in the harshest way possible. We are as committed as ever to making sure Israel is safe “What he said.
Matanel Almalem, 18, a student who lives next to the synagogue, told the AFP news agency at the scene that he heard a lot of gunfire. Almalem’s home is near the synagogue.
On Friday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did a security review, and at the same time, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was called back from a trip to the United States.
In response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin camp on Thursday, Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired a small number of rockets at Israel earlier on Friday. The Israeli air defense system was able to shoot down most of these missiles.
The Israeli military took action right away by bombing an underground Hamas factory that was making rockets. At that point in the war, the relatively calm exchange of fire gave the impression that both sides were trying to keep things from getting worse.
The attack on Friday night is the first security crisis for Mr. Netanyahu’s new cabinet, which is backed by a number of ultra-nationalist and far-Right Israeli leaders.
Hamas in Gaza has not taken credit for the strike that happened on Friday night, but they have said that it was “a response to the crime done by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the occupation’s criminal acts.”
Prayers were held at noon in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, which could lead to violence between Palestinians and Israeli police. The prayers took place earlier in the day, when the holy site was relatively quiet.
Antony Blinken, who is the Secretary of State for the United States, will go to Israel and the Palestinian territories the following week to meet with people from both sides. In the meantime, it is said that Blinken is “working the phones” to try to stop a major escalation.
People are getting more worried that Israelis and Palestinians are about to fight again on a scale similar to the war in May 2021 or the short but brutal exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in August.
On Friday night, some Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza cheered when shots were fired.