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In Israeli Palestinian conflict, Palestinian gunman kills 7 in attack on synagogue in East Jerusalem

A Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue in east Jerusalem on Friday during the Jewish Sabbath, in one of the deadliest attacks targeting Israelis in years that risked sparking widespread violence. The shooting came a day after a major escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including an army airstrike in the occupied West Bank that killed nine people, rocket fire from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli strikes.

Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai called the shooting in the Neve Yaakov area “one of the worst attacks we have encountered in recent years.” It also fell on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Police said that “around 20:15, a terrorist arrived at a synagogue on Neve Yaakov Boulevard in Jerusalem and began shooting at a number of people in the area. As a result of the terrorist attack, seven civilians were declared dead and three more civilians were injured. The gunman fled the scene in a car but was quickly tracked down and killed in a “shootout” with police

Police identified the shooter as a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. The rising violence comes a month after a new government led by veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took power.

Netanyahu and his far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the scene on Friday as crowds chanted “death to the Arabs”.

Witness says

Shalom Borohov, a barber who lives near the synagogue, told he “went down to help people” after hearing the shots. I saw the terrorist coming with his car. He stopped in the middle of the intersection and fired from his car,” he continued to fire as people arrived at the scene.

Matanel Almalem, an 18-year-old student who lives nearby, told he ran into the street after hearing the gunfire and saw the gunman in a white Toyota Corolla. I heard a lot of gunfire.

US President Joe Biden spoke to Netanyahu to condemn what he called a “horrific terrorist attack”. “The president has made it clear that this is an attack against the civilized world,” the White House said in a readout of the call, adding that Biden also “underscored the firm commitment of the United States to the security of Israel.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was visiting family in the US, cut his trip short and is returning to Israel. “The attack on civilians this Friday night was horrific,” Gallant said in a statement, vowing to “resolutely and forcefully counter terror” and “get to everyone involved in the attack.”

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