Gunman kills at least 7 in attack in East Jerusalem | Israelo-Palestinian conflict


The shooting follows a deadly Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Thursday in the Jenin refugee camp in which nine Palestinians were killed.

A gunman opened fire and killed at least seven people outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem before being shot, raising fears of a new round of deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

After Friday’s shooting, the Magen David Adom emergency department said it was treating 10 injured people, some of them in critical condition.

«What we understand is that a car stopped outside a synagogue, a gunman got out and opened fire,» Al Jazeera’s James Bays reported from the scene. «The figures we have now are seven people dead, including a 15-year-old boy.»

A second person may have been in the car and Israeli authorities were now searching her, Bays said.

There was no initial claim of liability. The emergency response agency reported a total of 10 gunshot victims, including a 70-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy.

Israeli police said the attack happened in Neve Yaakov, a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Television footage showed several victims lying on the road outside the synagogue, being treated by paramedics.

«I heard a lot of bullets,» Matanel Almalem, an 18-year-old student who lives near the synagogue, told AFP news agency.

A police statement said there had been «a terrorist attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem…The terrorist who fired was neutralized [killed]… Significant police forces are on the scene”.

The attack follows a deadly Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank on Thursday in the Jenin refugee camp. Nine Palestinians were killed, including an elderly woman, after dozens of Israeli soldiers attacked a house containing suspected fighters, resulting in several hours of heavy fighting.

Gaza fighters then fired rockets and Israel carried out airstrikes during the night, but exchanges were limited.

«A natural response»

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Reuters news agency that Friday’s attack was «a response to the crime committed by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the criminal actions of the ‘occupation». He stopped short of claiming the shooting.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also welcomed but did not take responsibility for the attack.

Israeli military raids have become commonplace over the past year with at least 200 Palestinians – combatants and civilians – killed.

Israeli civilians and soldiers have also been killed in attacks by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories.

Friday’s shooting came amid heightened tensions. Palestinians marched in anger as they buried the last of the Palestinians killed by Israeli troops the day before.

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters broke out after the funeral of a 22-year-old Palestinian man north of Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank.

Crowds of Palestinians waved the flags of Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas, which rules Gaza. In the streets of the town called al-Ram, masked Palestinians threw rocks and fired fireworks at Israeli police who responded with tear gas.

Israel’s opposition leader, former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, called Friday’s attack «horrible and heartbreaking».

Months of violence in the West Bank have heightened fears that the already unpredictable conflict could spiral out of control, sparking a wider confrontation between the Palestinians and Israel.

Israeli security forces deploy to the site of Friday’s attack [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

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