The escalation continues between Israelis and Palestinians. Seven people were killed on Friday when a gunman opened fire near a synagogue in East Jerusalem during the beginning of Shabbat prayers before being himself shot, the latest episode in a new bout of deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians. The Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, said it had identified a total of ten victims hit by bullets, including a 70-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy.
“Seven civilians” were killed by an armed assailant who opened fire around 8:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. GMT) in the street near this synagogue in Neve Yaacov, a Jewish settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem, part of the Holy City annexed by Israel This is “one of the worst attacks in recent years” against Israelis, police chief Kobi Shabtai told Israeli television.
Police say the shooter, a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, was shot dead by officers after he fled in a car. The attack, which occurs in a context of new violence between Israelis and Palestinians for 36 hours, was immediately condemned by Washington.
Israeli Minister of Internal Security Itamar Ben Gvir, a figure of the far right, went to the scene of the attack, where AFP journalists could see three corpses lying in the street. “I heard a lot of bullets,” Matanel Almalem, an 18-year-old student living next to the synagogue, told AFP.
“It is absolutely appalling,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters. “We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms,” he added, adding. that there was no change in the program of the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, who must go from Sunday to Egypt then Monday and Tuesday to Jerusalem and Ramallah. He will discuss “measures to be taken for a de-escalation of tensions”, he added. France condemned Friday evening the “appalling terrorist attack” in East Jerusalem, where a shooting near a synagogue left at least seven dead, in a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“This attack against civilians, at the time of prayer, and on the day of international commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, is particularly despicable”, affirms the Quai d’Orsay.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the Hamas spokesman said the shooting was a response to the Israeli army’s raid in Jenin on Thursday, which saw nine Palestinians killed in a “counter-terror” operation. The shooting comes the day after the death of nine Palestinians in a raid by the Israeli armed forces in the camp of Jenin, a city in the north of the occupied West Bank.
In response to the Israeli raid in Jenin, the Palestinian Authority decided to end security cooperation with Israel, a first since 2020. France urged Israel and the Palestinians “to refrain from fueling the escalation” and the United States said it was “deeply concerned about the escalation of violence”.
For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Thursday that his country was “not looking for escalation” but was preparing “for all scenarios”.