Gunman kills 5 near Jerusalem synagogue, Israeli medics say

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian gunman opened fire outside an East Jerusalem synagogue on Friday night, killing five people and wounding five others in one of the deadliest attacks on Israelis in years, officials said. medical officials. The attack was halted when the shooter was shot dead by police.

The killings came a day after Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians in a raid in the West Bank and raised the likelihood of further bloodshed.

The violence posed a challenge to Israel’s hardline new government and cast a shadow over US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region on Sunday. He will likely discuss the underlying causes of the continuing escalating conflict, the agenda of Israel’s new far-right government and the Palestinian Authority’s decision to end security coordination with Israel in retaliation for the murderous raid.

Israel’s MADA rescue service confirmed five dead and said five people were injured, including a 70-year-old woman in critical condition and a 14-year-old boy in serious condition.

Police say the shooter was “incapacitated”, a term that usually means he was killed. However, there has been no official confirmation.

In several places in the Gaza Strip, dozens of Palestinians gathered in spontaneous demonstrations to celebrate the attack on Jerusalem, some emerging from dessert shops with large trays of sweets to hand out. Similar celebrations were reported in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

READ MORE: Palestinians bury their dead as tensions escalate with Israel

The attack came amid heightened tensions. Palestinians marched on Friday in anger as they buried the last of 10 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire the day before.

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters broke out after the funeral of a 22-year-old Palestinian man north of Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, but calm reigned in the disputed capital and the blockaded Gaza Strip during the most of the day.

Thursday’s raid in the Jenin refugee camp escalated into a shootout that killed at least nine Palestinians, while clashes elsewhere left a tenth dead. Gaza militants then fired rockets and Israel carried out airstrikes in the night – but the exchange was limited.

The Biden administration has been deeply engaged with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in recent days, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, stressing the “urgent need here for all parties to defuse to prevent further loss of civilian life and work together to improve the security situation in the West Bank.

“We are certainly deeply concerned about this cycle of escalating violence in the West Bank as well as the rockets that have apparently been fired from Gaza,” Kirby said. “And of course, we condemn all acts that only escalate tensions.”

Israel’s defense minister, meanwhile, has ordered the military to prepare for further strikes in the Gaza Strip “if necessary” – also appearing to leave open the possibility that the violence will subside.

As residents of Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank remained jittery earlier Friday, midday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, often a catalyst for clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police, passed off peacefully. relative.

At the 22-year-old’s funeral, crowds of Palestinians waved the flags of Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority, and militant Hamas, which rules Gaza. In the streets of the town called al-Ram, masked Palestinians threw rocks and fired fireworks at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas.

But Palestinian rockets and Israeli airstrikes seemed limited in order to avoid turning into a full-fledged war. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and several minor skirmishes since the militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

The shooting on Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath, immediately changed the equation.

Israel’s opposition leader, former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, called it “horrible and heartbreaking”.


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