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Shooting at East Jerusalem synagogue kills seven

January 27, 2023

Israeli police say a Palestinian gunman killed seven people and injured three others in a shooting outside a synagogue in Jerusalem on Friday.

Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces stand near a covered body at the site of a reported attack in a settler neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem
The attack comes amid escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territoriesImage: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP

Israeli officials said a Palestinian gunman opened fire outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem on Friday, killing seven people and wounding three others before he was shot and killed by the police.   

The attack is being described by Israeli police as "a terrorist incident." Israeli police commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said the shooting was "one of the worst attacks we have encountered in recent years."

The attack comes amid escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories. A day earlier, nine Palestinians — including at least seven militants and an elderly woman — were killed in an Israeli military operation in the city of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.     

What do we know about the shooting?   

Israeli police and medics said the shooting occurred outside a synagogue in Neve Yaakov, East Jerusalem, where worshippers gathered for the Sabbath on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories


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Authorities said the gunman fled in a car after opening fire, and that the police chased him. Following an exchange of fire, the attacker was "neutralized," police said.   

The perpetrator was identified as a 21-year-old resident of East Jerusalem who was acting alone, as per preliminary investigation.   

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who paid a visit to the scene of the shooting, told reporters that his security cabinet would announce "immediate measures" soon in response to the attack. 

Netanyahu called on the Israeli public not to take the law into their own hands. 

What have the reactions been like?   

The US State Department has condemned the attack as "absolutely horrific."   

"We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters. "Our commitment to Israel's security remains ironclad, and we are in direct touch with our Israeli partners." 

US President Joe Biden asked his national security team to offer support in "assisting the wounded and bringing the perpetrators of this horrible crime to justice," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.   

Emergency responders on the scene on the outskirts of JerusalemImage: AFP

The attack came ahead of a planned visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Israel and the West Bank on Sunday.

CIA director William Burns is also currently visiting Israel and the West Bank on a trip arranged before the latest violence.  

Reuters news agency cited Palestinian officials as saying that Burns would meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday. But no comment was immediately available from US officials.  

Germany's ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, has condemned the attack and expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.  

"Deeply saddened by reports of a Palestinian gunman killing worshippers near a synagogue in Neve Yaakov — an evil terrorist act against Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day. My heart goes out to the families of the murdered victims and I pray for the health of the injured," he wrote on Twitter.  

The United Arab Emirates also condemned the synagogue attack, the state news agency (WAM) reported, citing a Foreign Ministry statement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the attack was "particularly abhorrent" because it occurred at a place of worship and on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.   

In a statement released by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Guterres said he was "deeply worried about the current escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory." 

rmt/sri (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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