Two people were wounded in a shooting attack in Jerusalem on Saturday, emergency services say, the day after a gunman killed at least seven people near a synagogue in the city.
The two men injured in the City of David area of Jerusalem on Saturday, one aged 22 and one in his 40s, are father and son, according to police. A 13-year-old who police say shot and wounded the pair was “neutralized and injured” by “two passers-by carrying licensed weapons.”
Tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories remain high after Friday’s shooting, which police chief Yaakov Shabtai described as “one of the worst terror attacks in the past few years.” The shooter in that attack was also later killed by police forces, according to police.
“As a result of the shooting attack, the death of 7 civilians was determined and 3 others were injured with additional degrees of injury,” police said.
Five of the shooting victims were pronounced dead at the scene, Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency rescue service said: four men and a woman. Five people were transported to hospitals, where another man and woman were declared dead. Among the wounded is a 15-year-old boy, the MDA said.
The attack occurred around 8:15 p.m. local time on Friday, near a synagogue on Neve Yaakov Street, according to a police statement.
Shabtai said the gunman “started shooting at anyone that was in his way. He got in his car and started a killing spree with a pistol at short range.” He then fled the scene in a vehicle and was killed after a shootout with police forces, police said.
Police identified the gunman as a 21-year-old resident of East Jerusalem, saying in a statement that he appeared to have acted alone. East Jerusalem is a predominantly Palestinian area of the city, which was captured by Israel in 1967.
Referring to Saturday’s attack, a community leader said the 13-year-old suspected shooter knew a 16-year-old Palestinian who died of gunshot wounds a day earlier. Jawad Siam, director of the Silwanic non-profilt organization in East Jerusalem, told CNN the suspect’s family denied their 13-year-old son was responsible for the Saturday attack, which happened close to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Silwan, East Jerusalem.
According to Siam, the 13-year-old suspect was a neighbor of a 16-year-old Palestinian who died of gunshot wounds in hospital overnight Friday. The 16-year-old was shot Wednesday by Israeli police.
Of the two wounded Saturday, the 22-year-old man is now in a serious but stable condition, anesthetized and ventilated in the intensive care unit, while his 47-year-old father is in a moderate and stable condition.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged people against revenge attacks on Friday night. “I call on the people not to take the law into their own hands. For that purpose we have an army, police and security forces. They act and will act according to the cabinet instructions,” he said.
Meanwhile, the European Union on Saturday urged Israel to only use lethal force as a “last resort.”
“The European Union fully recognises Israel’s legitimate security concerns, as evidenced by the latest terrorist attacks, but it has to be stressed that lethal force must only be used as a last resort when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said Saturday in a press release.
Borrell also stressed that the bloc is “very concerned by the heightened tensions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.”
“We call on both parties to do everything possible to de-escalate the situation and to restart security coordination, which is vital to prevent further acts of violence,” he concluded.
Friday’s incident came one day after the deadliest day for Palestinians in the West Bank in over a year, according to CNN records.
On Thursday, Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians and wounded several others in the West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, prompting the Palestinian Authority to suspend security coordination with Israel. A tenth Palestinian was killed that day in what Israel Police called a “violent disturbance” near Jerusalem.
Overnight, on Friday morning local time, Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza strip after rockets were fired towards Israel.
Israel’s controversial National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir visited the scene of the attack on Friday evening, telling people who were chanting angrily that “it cannot continue like this.”
“I can tell you, [the people chanting] you are right. The burden is on us. It cannot continue like this,” Ben Gvir, who also leads the far-right Jewish Power party, said.
Some people on the scene were chanting support for Ben Gvir, saying “You are our voice, we support you.”
CNN’s Hadas Gold and team, who were also at the scene of Friday night’s shooting, heard what sounded like celebratory gunfire and car horns honking from the nearby predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina.
The White House condemned the “heinous terror attack” at a synagogue in Jerusalem on Friday and said the United States government has extended its “full support” to Israel, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
The US State Department also condemned the “apparent terrorist attack” in Jerusalem “in the strongest terms.”
“This is absolutely horrific,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel. “Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those killed and injured in this heinous act of violence.”
Patel said no change to the schedule of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming trip to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank was expected.
US second gentleman Doug Emhoff joined the Biden administration in denouncing the mass shooting on Friday that killed at least seven people. “This is a terror attack. This is murder,” Emhoff said to reporters after touring the Oskar Schindler Enamel Factory in Krakow, Poland.
“This is something that is horrible. These were people who were just praying in a temple, living their everyday lives, and were murdered in cold blood and it’s not acceptable.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky added his voice to those condemning the deadly shooting near a synagogue in Jerusalem on Friday, saying that one of those killed in the attack was a Ukrainian national.
“We share (Israel’s) pain after the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Among the victims is a (Ukrainian) woman. Sincere condolences to the victims’ families. The crimes were cynically committed on the Intl Holocaust Remembrance Day. Terror must have no place in today’s world. Neither in (Israel) nor in (Ukraine),” Zelensky said in a tweet.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates called for an end to escalation in tensions.
In a statement released on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned “the situation between Palestinians and Israelis will slide into further serious escalation,” and the “Kingdom condemns all targeting of civilians, stressing the need to de-escalate, revive the peace process and end the occupation.”
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also warned of the “severe risks of the ongoing escalation” between Israel and Palestine, calling for “provocative measures in order to avoid falling into a vicious circle of violence that worsens the political and humanitarian situations and undermines de-escalation efforts and all chances of reviving the peace process.”
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation condemned and rejected “all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at undermining security and stability in contravention of human values and principles.”
Egypt and the UAE have normalized ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia has not.
France, Germany and the UK also condemned the shooting. “I am appalled by reports of the terrible attack in Neve Yaakov tonight. Attacking worshippers at a synagogue on Erev Shabat is a particularly horrific act of terrorism. The UK stands with Israel,” Neil Wigan, the British ambassador in Israel wrote on Twitter.
The French embassy in Israel tweeted that the incident was “all the more despicable as it was committed on this day of international remembrance of the Holocaust.”
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres also condemned Friday’s deadly attack, his spokesman said.
“It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship, and on the very day we commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” he said.
Guterres also expressed worry “about the current escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory,” urging all “to exercise utmost restraint.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz offered their condolences to the victims’ families following the two attacks. Scholz said Saturday that he was “deeply shocked” by the “terrible” attacks in Jerusalem in the past 24 hours.
Russia on Saturday urged all parties to show “maximum restraint” after the wave of deadly violence. “We perceive this development of events with deep concern. We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent further escalation of tension,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
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