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Seven people killed in ‘terror attack’ shooting at synagogue in Jerusalem

A gunman has killed seven people and wounded 10 others in a shooting outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem.

The attacker was shot and killed following one of the deadliest attacks on Israelis in years, and comes a day after nine Palestinians were killed earlier this week.

Israeli police described the shooting as a “terror attack” and said it took place at a synagogue in the Neve Ya’akov settlement.

Officers say the gunman opened fire at a group of Israelis at around 8.15pm and was waiting for them outside as they came out, according to Haaretz.

Seven people were killed in the attack and 10 wounded (AFP)
Seven people were killed in the attack and 10 wounded (AFP)© Provided by The Independent

Footage from the scene showed several victims, either covered by silver blankets or being tended to by emergency workers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Office said he is receiving rolling updates and he intends to convene a security briefing. He visited the scene this evening. Defence minister Yoav Gallant has called a meeting with his army chief and other top security officials.

Israel’s opposition leader and former prime minister Yair Lapid condemned the “horrific and heartbreaking” attack, which has been met with international condemnation.

British foreign secretary James Cleverly tweeted: “Appalling reports of a terror attack in Neve Yaakov this evening.

“To attack worshippers at a synagogue on Holocaust Memorial Day, and during Shabbat, is horrific. We stand with our Israeli friends.”

National security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir embraces a person at the scene of the attack (Reuters)

National security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir embraces a person at the scene of the attack (Reuters)© Provided by The Independent

The US state department also condemned the shooting with spokesperson Vedant Patel telling reporters that officials were in touch with their Israeli counterparts.

“This is absolutely horrific,” Ms Patel said. “Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those killed by this heinous act of violence.

“We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms. Our commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad.”

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply worried” by the current escalation of violence and urged “utmost restraint”, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

The United Arab Emirates also condemned Friday’s synagogue attack, the state news agency reported, citing a foreign ministry statement.

Forensic team members work at the scene of the shooting (Reuters)
Forensic team members work at the scene of the shooting (Reuters)© Provided by The Independent

Neve Ya’akov is a site of historic discord – considered by Israelis as an area within Jerusalem, and by Palestinians and most of the international community as illegally occupied land annexed after a 1967 war.

There was no initial claim of responsibility for the synagogue attack, which took place as worshippers attended Sabbath services on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

However, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said the events were connected, adding: “This operation is a response to the crime conducted by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the occupation criminal actions.”

The smaller militant group Islamic Jihad also praised the attack without claiming responsibility.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene (Reuters)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the scene (Reuters)© Provided by The Independent

According to Israeli media, the gunman was a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem, though there has been no official confirmation.

Spontaneous rallies spilled out into the streets of Gaza following the attacks as rounds of celebratory gunfire and car horns bellowed through the Palestinian exclave. Some emerged from dessert shops with large trays of sweets to distribute, while calls of “God is great!” rang out from mosque loudspeakers.

Israeli minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks to bystanders (AFP)
Israeli minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks to bystanders (AFP)© Provided by The Independent

The killings took place a day after Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians in the deadliest West Bank raid in years.

Scuffles between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters erupted after the funeral for a 22-year-old north of Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank on Friday.

In the streets of the town of al-Ram, masked Palestinians threw stones and set off fireworks at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas.

Israeli police were out in force in Jerusalem as scores of Muslim worshippers gathered for prayers in the stone courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and chanted in solidarity with those killed in the Jenin raid.

Tensions at the holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, have triggered violence in the past, including a bloody Gaza war in 2021. The site is considered the third-most sacred in Islam and the holiest place in Judaism.

“In spirit and blood, we will sacrifice you,” Muslim worshippers shouted. “Greetings Jenin, greetings Gaza.”

Reference: Story by Emily Atkinson 

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