Shooting at a checkpoint south of Nablus, others near a military camp near Ramallah or even against a military vehicle north of Jerusalem… A whole series of incidents targeted Israeli security forces around Jerusalem and in West Bank, late Friday, January 27. Like so many more or less weak signals of heightened tension, the day after the deadly raid by the Israeli army which killed nine people and injured dozens in the Jenin refugee camp, in the occupied West Bank, and strikes on the Gaza Strip.
→ REPORT. In the West Bank, an Israeli army raid shakes the city of Jenin
But it was in Neve Yaakov, a Jewish settlement perched on a hill in annexed East Jerusalem, that the most horrific attack occurred shortly after 8 p.m., when a 21-year-old Palestinian, himself from Jerusalem- East, opened fire in the street near a small synagogue after the beginning of Shabbat prayers. The international chancelleries, which severely condemned the terrorist attack, did not fail to recall that it also occurred on the evening of the international day of the victims of the Holocaust.
“We loved you, Itamar. We trusted you”
At least seven people were killed, according to the police, and three seriously injured, including a septuagenarian and a teenager. The assailant, who was not known to the Israeli authorities, was fatally “neutralized” by the police after fleeing by car.
“This is one of the worst attacks we have seen in recent yearssaid Doron Turgeman, the Jerusalem District Police Chief. To our knowledge, the terrorist acted alone. We continue to scan the area. » The last attack of this magnitude in the Holy City dates back to March 2008, when eight students of the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva were murdered with automatic weapons by an Israeli Arab.
Upon his arrival at the scene of the tragedy, Itamar Ben Gvir, the new Minister of National Security, known for his incendiary rhetoric and his unfailing support for colonization, was greeted with calls to “kill the terrorists!” ». But he also suffered criticism from residents in shock, yet committed to the cause “We loved you, Itamar. We trusted you. It happened under your watch. Israeli media report.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was briefly there in the evening, had declared the day before, after the raid in Jenin, that Israel “not looking for escalation” but was getting ready “to all scenarios”. Security concerns had been mounting for several days after 36 hours of violence in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, and a particularly deadly month on the Palestinian side: 30 civilians or members of armed groups were killed in violence with Israeli forces or civilians since early January.
law of retaliation
The dreaded escalation seemed to respond to the logic of retaliation on Friday evening, two days before a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Jerusalem and Ramallah. Without claiming it, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza, hailed the attack on Neve Yaacov, in response to the Jenin raid, as “a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation (Israel, editor’s note) against our Palestinian people”. Huge demonstrations of joy exploded in several major cities of the West Bank, in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jenin, but also in East Jerusalem, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Several videos circulating on social networks let hear firecrackers being fired, cries of joy and showed distributions of sweets in the streets to salute the killing and its “hero who died as a martyr”.
A sign that a deadly dynamic started in a few hours: according to local media, three Palestinians were injured by a settler who opened fire in the evening in Beita, near Nablus, in what had all the trappings of reprisals. “I call on citizens not to take justice into their own hands”, urged Binyamin Netanyahu in the evening.
And a new attack took place on Saturday January 28 in the morning in East Jerusalem which injured two people, according to the Israeli emergency services. Police said the suspect, a 13-year-old Palestinian man, had been “neutralized”.