Lethal capturing close to a synagogue in East Jerusalem as violence escalates within the West Financial institution
A Palestinian gunman opened fireplace exterior a synagogue in East Jerusalem on Friday evening, killing 5 individuals and wounding 5 others, medical officers mentioned, in one of many deadliest assaults on Israelis in years. The assault was stopped when the gunman was shot by police.
Police mentioned the gunman arrived round 8:15 pm and opened fireplace, injuring quite a few individuals earlier than the police killed him. Tv footage confirmed quite a few victims mendacity on the highway exterior the synagogue, being attended to by emergency staff.
The assault, which police described as a “terrorist incident”, underscores fears of an escalation in violence after months of clashes within the West Financial institution that culminated in a raid on Thursday that left not less than 9 Palestinians lifeless.
No preliminary celebration claimed accountability for the synagogue assault, which befell whereas worshipers had been attending Saturday prayers on Worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day, however a spokesman for the Islamist motion Hamas mentioned the incidents had been linked.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem mentioned, “This operation is a response to the crime dedicated by the occupation in Jenin, and a pure response to the prison acts of the occupation.” The small Islamic Jihad motion additionally praised the assault with out claiming accountability.
Israeli media mentioned the gunman was a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, however there was no official affirmation.
Israel’s Overseas Ministry mentioned seven individuals had been killed, however the ambulance service put the demise toll at 5.
In Gaza, information of the assault led to spontaneous rallies taking to the streets, accompanied by celebratory gunfire.
Friday’s capturing got here days earlier than US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s scheduled go to to Israel and the West Financial institution. The State Division issued a press release condemning the assault and saying there had been no change in Blinken’s journey plans.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli jets bombed the Gaza Strip in response to rocket assaults that set off alarms in Israeli communities close to the border with the besieged southern coastal enclave managed by Hamas.
In August, Israeli jets bombed targets in Gaza linked to the group throughout a weekend standoff that noticed a whole bunch of Islamic Jihad missiles fired at Israel, most of which had been intercepted by air protection programs.
Months of violence within the West Financial institution, which escalated after a collection of lethal assaults in Israel final yr, has raised fears that an already unpredictable battle may spiral uncontrolled, sparking a broader confrontation between the Palestinians and Israel.
The most recent season of violence started underneath the earlier coalition authorities and continued after the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a brand new right-wing administration that features ultra-nationalist events that wish to broaden settlements within the West Financial institution.
After Thursday’s raid, the Palestinian Authority, which has restricted governing powers within the West Financial institution, mentioned it might droop safety cooperation preparations with Israel.
Within the Jenin refugee camp, a densely populated block of buildings and alleyways that has been a hub of militant exercise and the goal of frequent Israeli raids, residents mentioned Thursday’s operation made an unusually deep incursion into the camp.
A two-storey constructing on the middle of the preventing was badly broken, whereas close by homes had been blackened by smoke. In one other space across the camp’s group middle, Israeli bulldozers crushed vehicles used within the operation.
The US State Division issued a press release on Thursday saying it was deeply involved concerning the violence within the West Financial institution and urged either side to de-escalate the battle.
Palestinian officers mentioned the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar additionally referred to as for calm.
Palestinian officers mentioned CIA Director William Burns, who was visiting Israel and the West Financial institution on a visit organized earlier than the most recent violence, would meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday. It was not instantly attainable to acquire remark from US officers in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu, who returned to energy this yr on the head of some of the right-wing governments in Israel’s historical past, mentioned Israel was not trying to escalate the scenario, although he has ordered safety forces to be placed on alert.