A gunman killed at least seven people and injured ten others at a synagogue outside Jerusalem on Friday. The incident came a day after the largest Israeli security operation in the West Bank in many years by casualty count.
According to police, the gunman appeared at the synagogue around 8:15 pm local time and opened fire, hitting several people before being shot dead by police. Television footage shows several people lying on the road outside the synagogue. Security personnel are currently at the crime scene.
The Associated Press reports that the synagogue shooting incident sparked spontaneous festivities in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where Palestinian residents fired in the air, honked their horns and handed out candy.
The attack, which police described as a “terrorist incident”, heightened fears of an escalation in violence after months of clashes in the West Bank culminating in an Israeli operation on Thursday that killed at least nine Palestinians.
So far no one has claimed responsibility for the synagogue shooting that occurred during Saturday mass on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but a spokesman for the Islamist movement Hamas has linked the Incident to Events in the West Bank. to a crime committed by the occupiers [в четверг] in Jenin and a natural response to the criminal actions of the occupiers,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said.
A smaller militant organization, the Islamic Jihad, also approved the attack without claiming responsibility. Israeli media reported that the shooter was a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, but there has been no official confirmation of this. information.
The White House has strongly condemned the “monstrous terrorist attack” in a Jerusalem synagogue, Karine Jean-Pierre’s spokeswoman said in a statement.
“The attack tragically coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust is commemorated around the world,” the statement said. “The United States will give its full support to the government and people of Israel. The President instructed his national security team to immediately contact his Israeli counterparts and offer the necessary support to help the injured and bring those responsible for this heinous crime to justice.
The synagogue shooting took place days before US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Israel and the West Bank.
The State Department issued a statement condemning the attack and said Blinken’s travel plans had not changed. The day before, the US State Department had expressed deep concern over the bloodshed in the West Bank and called on the parties to de-escalate the conflict.