The police spoke of an attack on the synagogue. At least seven people were killed. According to police, the attacker was shot while trying to escape. According to the first findings, it is a 21-year-old Palestinian living in East Jerusalem. The police arrested at least 42 suspects. As the authorities announced this Saturday, these were relatives and neighbors of the attacker. At first, investigators assumed he acted alone. However, the investigations are not yet complete.
According to the police, the man went to the synagogue in the Neve Jaakov settlement in East Jerusalem around 8:15 p.m. (local time). As believers left the synagogue after Shabbat prayers on Friday, the attacker opened fire from his car. According to the Israeli emergency medical service Magen David Adom, several of the injured were taken to a nearby hospital. Some of them are in critical condition.
The German Ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, expressed his condolences. He was deeply saddened by the reports, Seibert wrote on Twitter. He spoke of a “nasty act of terrorism against Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.” His sympathy goes to the families of the murdered victims. He prays for the health of the injured.
The United States described the attack as “absolutely appalling”. Washington condemns this “obviously terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms,” said a spokesman for the US State Department. US President Joe Biden instructed his team to contact Israeli colleagues immediately to offer support in caring for the victims and prosecuting the perpetrators, the White House said.
“The attack on a synagogue on Holocaust Remembrance Day and on Shabbat is appalling. We stand with our Israeli friends,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Twitter.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said through a spokesman that he was “deeply concerned” about the current escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. He calls for “extreme restraint”.
The United Arab Emirates also condemned the attack, the state news agency reported, citing a statement from the foreign ministry.
After visiting the scene of the crime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would convene his security cabinet on Saturday evening to discuss further steps. He called on the public not to take vigilantism. “For this we have an army and a police force that receive instructions from the cabinet.”
The security situation has been tense for days
The security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories has deteriorated significantly in recent days. A spokesman for Gaza’s terrorist organization Hamas said the attack was in retaliation for the Israeli army’s anti-terrorist operation in Jenin on Thursday, which Palestinians said nine people were killed. According to eyewitnesses, people took to the streets in the Gaza Strip and in Palestinian cities in the West Bank to celebrate the attack in Jerusalem.
Rockets were initially fired into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip on Friday, but the Israeli army intercepted them. Israel then launched several airstrikes against Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip. The army said the targets were an “underground missile production site” for the radical Islamic Palestinian organization and a Hamas base in the north of the area.
Today more than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim the areas for a future state of Palestine with the Arabic-influenced eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital. The militant Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by Germany, the European Union and the USA, as well as by some Arab states.
uh/jj/tl/qu/wa/nob/pg (dpa, afp, rtr)