International

Israel: 7 Killed In Attack At Synagogue In Jerusalem, Terrorist Shot Dead

The attack on the Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem took place on the Holocaust Memorial Day, which is dedicated to around 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Israeli security personnel in Jerusalem after a terrorist shot dead seven people at a Jewish synagogue
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At least seven were killed and several were injured in a terrorist attack on a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem on Friday evening. 

The attack on the Jewish synagogue took place on the Holocaust Memorial Day, which is dedicated to around 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. 

The terrorist fled the scene after the attack but was later engaged and neutralised by Israeli security personnel, according to Israel Police.

The attack is the latest in the series of attacks in Israel that have killed dozens over the past year. The attack also comes at a time when Israeli-Palestinian tensions are very high because of casualties in Israeli military raids in West Bank.  

Though the terrorist has not been named so far, Israel Police said he is a 21-year-old East Jerusalem resident. 

Slaughter of innocent civilians: Israel

The attack happened around 8:15 pm at a synagogue in Jerusalem's Neve Ya'akov area. The Israel Police called it a slaughter of innocent civilians. 

The Israel Police tweeted, "Terror attack in Jerusalem: seven innocent civilians were slaughtered in the attack and multiple victims in various conditions. Following a pursuit and fire exchange with the terrorist, police officers neutralised him."

Master Sgt. Dean Elsdunne, International Spokesperson for the Israel Police, said they were first alerted about the attack at 8:15 pm. 

He said, "This is one of the most heinous terror attacks that we have seen in recent years and a significant rise in the level of terror. A terrorist came to a synagogue on Neve Ya'akov boulevard in northern Jerusalem. The terrorist opened fire on a multiple number of innocent civilians who were observing the holy Sabhath day.

"As the commotion was going on, people came to see what was going on and the terrorist continued to fire at these innocent civilians. The terrorist attempted to flee by vehicle. Police forces that received the dispatch call came to the scene, encountered the terrorist, and engaged in a crossfire with this terrorist. Shots were fired at our forces and the officers managed to neutralise the terrorist." 

Elsdunne added that three people injured in the incident were critical at the time.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions may escalate

The terrorist attack in Jerusalem is the latest in the series of attacks in Israel which have killed dozens over the past year. 

This is the second terrorist attack in Jerusalem in recent weeks. In late November, twin-blasts killed one and injured 15 in Jerusalem.

The Friday's terrorist attack also comes amid frequent Israeli raids in West Bank in which several Palaestinians have been killed in recent weeks. Just on Thursday, 10 Palestinains were killed in a raid in Jenin in West Bank. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the Israeli personnel came under fire during a "counterterrorism operation to apprehend an Islamic Jihad terror squad" and shot several enemy combatants.

The Friday's attack was also identified as a resident of East Jerusalem, which was also the native place of the November bomber. 

"East Jerusalem may become a major focal point for the Israeli security services in the coming days and weeks. There have been several major attacks in the last months by people residing in the area. Uday Tamimi, the Jerusalem bomber, and tonight's Jerusalem attacker," said Joe Truzman, a Research Analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), in a tweet. 

He further said, "It's significant terror attacks like what happened in Jerusalem tonight that concerns me and how it can lead to a significant escalation between Israel and Palestinian militant groups. This is an event to keep a close eye on."

Threats by Palestinian groups

Following the latest deaths in Jenin, The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) 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". 

The PIJ is a Palestinian terrorist group based in Gaza. It's the second-largest group in Gaza after Hamas and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and establishing an autonomous Islamic Palestinian state in the lands currently comprising Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, according the think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP).

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 Hamas is a Palestinian terrorist group that controls Gaza. The CEP states, "The group’s ideology blends Islamism and Palestinian nationalism and seeks the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River."

Following the Friday's terrorist attacks, there were public celebrations by some, according to FDD's Truzman.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) 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.

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(With PTI inputs)

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