Seven dead and several wounded in a shooting near a synagogue in East Jerusalem, police say terrorist attack
Steph Deschamps / January 29, 2023
Seven people were killed by a gunman who opened fire near a synagogue in East Jerusalem during early Shabbat prayers before being shot himself.
Seven civilians "were killed by an armed assailant who opened fire around 8:15 p.m.in the street near this synagogue in Neve Yaacov, a Jewish settlement area in East Jerusalem, part of the Holy City annexed by Israel, according to an Israeli police statement.
It was "one of the worst attacks in recent years" against Israelis, police chief Kobi Shabtai told Israeli television.
According to police, the shooter, a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, was shot by police after fleeing in a car.
The attack, which comes amid a new round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians over the past 36 hours, was immediately condemned by Washington.
"This is absolutely appalling," State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms," he added, noting that there was no change in the program of the head of U.S. diplomacy, Antony Blinken, who is scheduled to visit from Sunday in Egypt and Monday and Tuesday in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
He will discuss "measures to be taken to de-escalate tensions," he added.
Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross, said it counted a total of ten gunshot victims, including a 70-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy.
Israeli Internal Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right figure, visited the scene of the attack, where AFP reporters saw three bodies lying in the street.
"I heard a lot of gunfire," Matanel Almalem, an 18-year-old student living next to the synagogue, told AFP.
The shooting comes a day after nine Palestinians were killed in a raid by Israeli armed forces in the northern West Bank town of Jenin.
The raid, which also left dozens injured, targeted the Islamic Jihad group which was planning an attack in Israel, according to Israeli sources.
A tenth Palestinian was killed Thursday by Israeli fire in Al-Ram, near Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The United Nations has not recorded such a high death toll from a single Israeli operation in the West Bank since it began keeping track of casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2005.
In retaliation, rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, under the control of the Hamas movement.
Israel retaliated with strikes against the Palestinian micro-territory. No casualties were recorded in this battle.
In response to the Israeli raid in Jenin, the Palestinian Authority decided to end security cooperation with Israel, the first time this has happened since 2020.
France urged Israel and the Palestinians "to refrain from fueling the escalation" and the United States said it was "deeply concerned about the escalation of violence. »
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday in a statement that his country "does not seek escalation" but is prepared "for all scenarios.