Jerusalem synagogue attack leaves at least seven dead, Israeli police say


Israeli police say at least seven people were killed and three wounded in a shooting near a synagogue in Jerusalem on Friday amid heightened tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The shooter on Friday was also later killed by police forces, according to police, in what police chief Yaakov Shabtai described as “one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent years.”

“As a result of the shooting attack, 7 civilians were determined dead and 3 others were injured with additional degrees of injuries,” police said.

Five of the shooting victims were pronounced dead at the scene, Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency rescue service said: four men and one woman. Five people were transported to hospitals, where another man and a woman were pronounced dead.

The attack happened around 8:15 p.m. local time near a synagogue on Neve Yaakov Street, according to a police statement.

Shabtai said the gunman “started shooting anyone who got in his way. He got in his car and went on a killing spree with a handgun at close range.” He then fled the scene in a vehicle and died after a shootout with police forces, police said.

Israeli security forces deploy to the site of a reported attack in a settler neighborhood in east Jerusalem annexed by Israel, on January 27, 2023.

Police identified the attacker as a 21-year-old East Jerusalem resident and said in a statement that he appeared to have acted alone. East Jerusalem is a predominantly Palestinian area of ​​the city, which was captured by Israel in 1967.

The incident occurs a day later. the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in more than a year, according to CNN records. On Thursday, Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians and wounded several more in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. A tenth Palestinian was killed that day in what Israel police called a “violent riot” near Jerusalem.

Israeli security forces search a car at the site of a reported attack in a settler neighborhood in east Jerusalem annexed by Israel, on January 27, 2023.

Israel’s controversial National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visited the site of the attack on Friday night, telling angrily chanting people that it “cannot continue like this.”

“I can say you, [the people chanting] you’re right. The burden is on us. It cannot continue like this,” said Ben Gvir, who also leads the far-right Jewish Power party.

Some people on the scene were singing support for Ben Gvir and saying, “You are our voice, we support you.”

Hadas Gold and the CNN team, who were also at the scene of the shooting Friday night, heard what sounded like celebratory gunshots and car horns in the nearby predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

The US State Department on Friday condemned the “apparent terrorist attack” in Jerusalem “in the strongest terms.”

“This is absolutely horrifying,” said State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel. “Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with those killed and injured in this heinous act of violence.”

Patel said the United States is “still gathering information” but that the US government is “in direct contact with our Israeli partners.”

Patel said no change was expected in the schedule of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming trip to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank.

Israel's Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks to Israeli forces on January 27, 2023.

The European Union, France and the United Kingdom also condemned the shooting.

“I am horrified by the reports of the terrible attack on Neve Yaakov tonight. Attacking worshipers in a synagogue on Erev Shabbat is a particularly horrifying act of terrorism. The UK stands with Israel,” Neil Wigan, the British ambassador to Israel, wrote on Twitter.

The EU ambassador to Israel, Dimiter Tzantchev, also condemned the “senseless violence” and said in his tweet: “Terror is never the answer.”

And the French embassy in Israel tweeted that the incident was “all the more despicable for being committed on this international Holocaust remembrance day.”

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