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New gun attack in east Jerusalem after synagogue mass shooting

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded a father and son in east Jerusalem hours after a gunman killed seven outside a synagogue.

3 minute read
Security and rescue personnel work at the scene of a shooting attack, just outside Jerusalem's Old City, Jan 28. Photo: Reuters
Security and rescue personnel work at the scene of a shooting attack, just outside Jerusalem's Old City, Jan 28. Photo: Reuters

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded a father and son in east Jerusalem on Saturday hours after a gunman killed seven outside a synagogue, in one of the deadliest such attacks in years.

The two shootings marked another dramatic escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and defied global calls for calm.

Police said the latest gun attack occurred on Saturday morning in Silwan just outside the old, walled city in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

A father, 47, and his 23-year-old son sustained gunshot wounds to their upper bodies and were rushed to hospital, police and medics said.

Police had earlier announced the arrest of 42 people in connection with Friday's synagogue attack.

The mass shooting was carried out by a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who drove up to the synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighbourhood and opened fire during the Jewish Sabbath, and on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The attack came with tensions rising across the region a day after one of the deadliest army raids in the occupied West Bank in roughly two decades, as well as rocket fire from militants in the Gaza Strip and Israeli retaliatory air strikes.

Crowds shouted "Death to Arabs" as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the scene of the synagogue attack late Friday.

Palestinians held spontaneous rallies to celebrate the killings in Gaza and across the West Bank, including in Ramallah where large crowds swarmed the streets chanting and waving Palestinian flags.

Arab condemnation 

Israel's police chief Kobi Shabtai called the synagogue shooting "one of the worst attacks (Israel) has encountered in recent years."

Several Arab nations that have ties with Israel – including Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates – condemned Friday night's shooting.

But the Lebanese group Hezbollah, one of Israel's most prominent foes, praised the attack as "heroic", voicing "absolute support for all the steps taken by the Palestinian resistance factions".

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was "deeply shocked" by the "terrible" Jerusalem attacks and that his country "stands by the side of Israel".

French President Emmanuel Macron said a "spiral of violence must be avoided at all costs".

The gunman at the synagogue was killed by police during a shootout that followed a brief car chase after the attack.

There has been no indication that he had prior involvement in militant activity or was a member of an established Palestinian armed group.

"The Jerusalem district police and border police fighters arrested 42 suspects – some of them from the terrorist's (immediate) family, relatives and (neighbours)," a police statement said.

"The police will thoroughly examine the connection between each of the arrested suspects and the terrorist who carried out the attack, as well as the extent of their knowledge and/or involvement," it added.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians claim the area as the capital of their future state.

Escalating violence 

Nine people had been killed Thursday in what Israel described as a "counter-terrorism" operation in the Jenin refugee camp.

It was one of the deadliest Israeli army raids in the West Bank since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, of 2000 to 2005.

Israel said Islamic Jihad operatives were the target.

Islamic Jihad and Hamas both vowed to retaliate, later firing several rockets at Israeli territory.

Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. The military responded with strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza.

There were no injuries reported on either side, but Gaza's armed groups vowed further action.

After the synagogue shooting, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the attack proved "the resistance knows how to find the appropriate response" to Israeli "crimes".

Washington had announced Thursday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would travel next week to Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he would push for an "end to the cycle of violence".

A US State Department spokesman confirmed on Friday that the visit would go ahead and said Blinken would discuss "steps to be taken to de-escalate tensions".

At least 26 Israelis and 200 Palestinians were killed across Israel and the Palestinian territories in 2022, the majority in the West Bank, according to an AFP tally from official sources.