Jerusalem synagogue attack kills at least seven, Israeli police say


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

Friday’s gunman was also later killed by police forces, according to police, in what police chief Yaakov Shabtai described as «one of the worst terror attacks in years.»

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

Five of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency rescue service said: four men and one woman. Five people were taken to hospitals, where another man and another 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 shooter “started shooting anyone who got in his way. He got in his car and started a killing spree with a close-range gun. He then fled in a vehicle and was killed after a shootout with law enforcement, police said.

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

Police identified the shooter as a 21-year-old East Jerusalem resident, saying in a statement 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 comes a day after 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 injured several others in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. A tenth Palestinian was killed that day in what Israeli police described as “violent unrest” near Jerusalem.

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

Israel’s controversial National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visited the scene of the attack on Friday night, telling people angrily chanting that «it can’t go on like this».

«I can tell you, [the people chanting] you are right. The burden is on us. It can’t go on like this,” said Ben Gvir, who also leads the far-right Jewish Power party.

Some people on the stage chanted their support for Ben Gvir, saying «You are our voice, we support you».

Hadas Gold and his CNN team, who were also at the scene of Friday night’s shooting, heard what sounded like celebratory gunfire and car horns coming from 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».

«It’s absolutely awful,» State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said. «Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those killed and injured in this heinous act of violence.»

Patel said the US was «still gathering information» but the US government was «in direct contact with our Israeli partners».

Patel said there were no changes to the schedule for Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming trip to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir speaks with Israeli forces on January 27, 2023.

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

“I am appalled by the reports of Neve Yaakov’s horrific attack tonight. Attacking worshipers in a synagogue on Erev Shabat is a particularly horrific act of terrorism. The UK stands with Israel,” Neil Wigan, the British Ambassador to Israel, wrote on Twitter.

EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev also condemned the «senseless violence», saying in his tweet: «Terror is never the answer».

And the French embassy in Israel tweeted that the incident was «all the more despicable as it was committed on this day of international remembrance of the Holocaust».

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