Jerusalem shooting: Gunman kills seven people near Jerusalem synagogue
Israeli police have called the attacker, who killed seven people, a terrorist - Mark McQuillan reports
Seven people, including a teenage boy, have died after a gunman opened fire outside a synagogue in Jerusalem.
Worshippers were celebrating the Jewish sabbath when the 21-year-old attacker started shooting.
Authorities said the attacker was a Palestinian man living in east Jerusalem.
This has been the deadliest attack on Israelis since 2008 shooting killed eight in a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Israeli police rushed to the outburst of violence in Neve Yaakov, a Jewish area in east Jerusalem.
As he tried to flee from the scene, officers shot the gunman.
Officers said “the terrorist was neutralised,” suggesting the attacker was killed, but this has not been confirmed.
Israel’s national rescue service, MADA, initially confirmed five deaths and five other people wounded, including a 70-year-old woman, a 60-year-old woman and a teenage boy.
Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital later said one man in his 40s had died from his wounds and a police chief said in a TV interview that seven people had died.
Jerusalem police chief Doron Turjeman confirmed seven deaths, in addition to the shooter, and said three people were wounded. Hadassah Hospital later said a 15-year-old boy was recovering from surgery.
Police identified the attacker as a man who apparently acted alone. Turjeman promised an “aggressive and significant” effort to track down anyone who had helped him.
Police also released a photo of the pistol it said was used by the attacker.
The attack came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine people in the West Bank.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the attack was “a revenge and natural response” to the killing of nine Palestinians in Jenin on Thursday.
At several locations across the Gaza Strip, dozens of Palestinians gathered to celebrate the Jerusalem attack.
Videos on social media show coming out of shops with large trays of sweets to give out.
Israel’s opposition leader, former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, called Fridays shooting “horrific and heart breaking.”
Addressing reporters at Israel's national police headquarters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had held a security assessment and decided on “immediate actions.”
He said he would convene his Security Cabinet on Saturday night, after the end of the sabbath, to discuss a further response.
Netanyahu declined to elaborate but said Israel would act with “determination and composure.” He called on the public not to take the law into their own hands.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the U.S. strongly condemned the attack and was “shocked and saddened by the loss of life,” noting it came on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
″The United States will extend our full support to the government and people of Israel,” she said.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the attack was “horrific”.
Mr Cleverly tweeted: “Appalling reports of a terror attack in Neve Yaakov this evening.
“To attack worshippers at a synagogue on Holocaust Memorial Day, and during Shabbat, is horrific.
“We stand with our Israeli friends.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also sent his sympathies to the victims, tweeting: “I’m sickened to hear about the horrific attack at a synagogue in Jerusalem — places of worship should be sanctuaries.
“On behalf of all Londoners I send my deepest sympathies.”
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know