JERUSALEM, Jan 28 (PTI): At least seven people have been killed and three others injured in a shooting incident at a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighbourhood of Jerusalem, police and medics have said.
The shooting took place on Friday evening in the northern part of East Jerusalem, they said.
“The terrorist arrived by car at a building used as a synagogue in the neighbourhood in the northern part of East Jerusalem and opened fire,” police said.
Police located and shot the gunman. A handgun apparently used in the attack was seized, they said.
Seven people were shot and killed and at least three others were wounded in a terror shooting attack, The Times of Israel newspaper said, quoting police and medics.
Police said the terrorist — a resident of East Jerusalem — was shot dead after he exited the car and opened fire on the officers while trying to escape on foot, the report said.
Magen David Adom (MDA)rescue services said its medics declared five victims dead at the scene, and another two victims were declared dead at hospitals in Jerusalem, it added.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking after visiting the scene, called the attack “one of the most severe we have known in years.”
“Our hearts are with the families. I commend the police officers who took action so quickly. We must act with determination and composure. I call on people not to take the law into their own hands,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
He said the cabinet would convene on Saturday, adding, “We have decided on several immediate steps that will begin tonight.”
A woman in her 70s was listed in critical condition, a 20-year-old man in serious condition, and a 14-year-old boy in moderate-serious condition, MDA staff said.
The wounded were taken to the Hadassah Mount Scopus hospital.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant was to soon hold a special situation assessment meeting with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, the head of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet, and other security officials, his office said.
The attack came a day after Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians during a raid in the West Bank town of Jenin, nine of them in the army operation, in what was the bloodiest day in the Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled area in many years.
The IDF said its forces came under fire during a “counterterrorism operation to apprehend an Islamic Jihad terror squad” and shot several enemy combatants.
It claimed that the incursion targeted Islamic Jihad people who were allegedly behind attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Meanwhile, Galant alleged that the targeted people were planning “to conduct a terror attack in Israel”.
Islamic Jihad had vowed to take revenge “very soon” with its spokesperson Tariq Salmi saying that “the resistance is everywhere and ready and willing for the next confrontation”.
Saleh al-Arouri, deputy leader of Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, vowed that Israel “will pay the price for the Jenin massacre”.
The Palestinian Authority suspended its ongoing coordination with Israeli security forces in response.
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory shortly after midnight which were intercepted by Israel’s air defence system, an army spokesperson said.
Israel carried out air strikes on Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s weapons facilities, the army said.