By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
JERUSALEM (Worthy News) – Israel’s prime minister has urged citizens to remain calm after at least eight people were killed and three injured in a terror attack at a synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday evening.
“I call on citizens not to take the law into their own hands; for that, we have an army and police,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Authorities identified the terrorist as Alkam Khairi, a Palestinian from east Jerusalem. He reportedly had no known terror connections before the attack, Jerusalem’s deadliest since 2008.
The 21-year-old opened fire at people leaving the Ateret Avraham synagogue after Friday night prayers, the latest reports said. After entering and attacking the people in the synagogue, the shooter reportedly started chasing after people who were trying to escape.
In addition to seven dead, the shooting injured three people, said Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency service. Israeli first rescue workers rushed to the scene.
Gunshots were still reverberating when Fadi Dkeidik, a first responder, arrived. He told reporters he encountered one of the most harrowing scenes he has ever responded to as a paramedic.
“It was a horrible event,” Dkeidik recalled. “We saw the wounded all along the road.”
SOME VICTIMS IDENTIFIED
First responders pronounced five victims dead on arriving on the scene, including four men aged 60, 50, 25, and 20 and one 60-year-old women, Israeli media reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir arrived at the attack scene, which came as many Jews prepared for the Shabbat, the weekly rest day. It also came as much of the world observed Holocaust Memorial Day to honor the six million Jews and many others killed by the Nazis and their supporters in World War Two.
Ben-Gvir was seen embracing shocked residents and was heard telling crowds at the scene to stop chanting “death to Arabs” and “death to leftists” and instead chanting “death to terrorists.”
No Palestinian militant group immediately claimed the attack in Jerusalem, but both terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the deadly shooting as a “heroic operation.”
“The operation in Jerusalem is a natural response to the occupation’s crime in Jenin,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim, referring to the attack. Friday’s attack in Jerusalem came just before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s scheduled visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Monday.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, expressed shock about the act of terrorism. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Washington strongly condemns “the heinous terror attack” in Jerusalem.
U.S. President Joe Biden ordered his national security team to support Israel in assisting the wounded and “bringing the perpetrators of this horrible crime to justice.”
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