Seven killed in shooting near synagogue in Jerusalem

Israeli security forces deploy at the site of the attack  (AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli security forces deploy at the site of the attack (AFP via Getty Images)

A gunman has reportedly killed seven people and wounded 10 others in a shooting near a synagogue in east Jerusalem in one of the deadliest attacks on Israelis in years, according to Israeli authorities.

The attack in the Jewish neighbourhood of Neve Ya’akov was halted when the gunman was shot, and reportedly killed by police.

Israeli rescue service Mada confirmed five deaths and said five more people were wounded, including a 70-year-old woman in critical condition and a 14-year-old boy in serious condition.

Israel’s foreign ministry later said seven people were killed and 10 were injured.

Israeli police described it as a “terror attack”.

Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces stand near a covered body (AFP via Getty Images)
Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces stand near a covered body (AFP via Getty Images)

Police said the gunman was “neutralised,” a term that suggests he was killed. There was no official confirmation, however.

Neve Ya’akov is considered by Israelis as a neighbourhood within Jerusalem, while Palestinians and most of the international community consider it occupied land illegally annexed after a 1967 Middle East war.

The killings took place a day after Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians in the deadliest West Bank raid in years.

The wounded included a 70-year-old in critical condition, the medical service said.

Palestinians had earlier marched in anger as they buried the last of the people killed by Israeli fire a day earlier, but the likelihood of a major conflagration had appeared to ebb after the deadliest Israeli raid in two decades.

Scuffles between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters erupted after the funeral for a 22-year-old Palestinian north of Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, but calm prevailed in the contested capital and in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Thursday's raid in the Jenin refugee camp descended into a gun battle that killed at least nine Palestinians, while clashes elsewhere left a 10th dead.

Gaza militants then fired rockets and Israel carried out air strikes overnight, but the exchange was limited, following a familiar pattern that allows both sides to respond without leading to a major flare-up.

Israel's defence minister instructed the military to prepare for new strikes in the Gaza Strip "if necessary" - also appearing to leave open the possibility that violence would subside.

At the funeral of the 22-year-old, crowds of Palestinians waved the flags of Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority, and militant Hamas, which rules Gaza.

In the streets of the town called al-Ram, masked Palestinians threw stones and set off fireworks at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas.

But the Palestinian rockets and Israeli air strikes seemed limited to prevent growing into a full-blown war. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and several smaller skirmishes since the militant group seized power in Gaza from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

The Palestinians' rockets were fired toward southern Israel, while Israel's non-lethal air strikes were on targets in Gaza, such as training camps and an underground rocket-manufacturing site.

Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant claimed the military dealt a "tough blow" to Palestinian militants in Gaza and said the army was preparing to strike "high-quality targets... until peace is restored to the citizens of Israel".

Israeli police were out in force in Jerusalem as scores of Muslim worshippers gathered for prayers in the stone courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and chanted in solidarity with those killed in the Jenin raid.

Tensions at the holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, have triggered violence in the past, including a bloody Gaza war in 2021. The site is considered the third-most sacred in Islam and the holiest place in Judaism.

Tensions have soared since Israel stepped up raids in the West Bank last spring, following a series of Palestinian attacks.

Jenin, which was an important militant stronghold during the 2000-05 intifada and has again emerged as one, has been the focus of many of the Israeli operations. Among the dead in Thursday's raid were seven militants and a 61-year-old woman.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, making 2022 the deadliest in those territories since 2004, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

Last year, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

So far this year, 30 Palestinians have been killed, according to a count by the Associated Press.

Israel says most of the dead were militants, but youths protesting against the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed.