Wife was 'giving CPR to dying husband' when Jerusalem synagogue gunman opened fire
The Palestinian gunman behind Friday's synagogue attack in East Jerusalem shot at a young woman as she gave CPR to her dying husband, according to eyewitnesses.
The killer only paused his attack, in the Jewish settlement of Neve Ya'akov, for a few seconds to reload his handgun with a new magazine, the witness said.
On Saturday morning, Jewish residents gathered at the scene and wept as they recounted a night of blood and horror.
After killing seven people and wounding several others, the attacker fled the scene and was shot dead by Israeli police about five minutes later. He was later identified as Khairi Alqam, a 21-year-old resident of east Jerusalem.
"I was having Shabbat dinner, I heard shooting, and first I thought it was Palestinian neighbours shooting [celebratory gunfire] next to us," said Shimon Israel, 45.
"I saw a mess, I saw a guy shooting at the corner of the synagogue, there were already bodies in the streets. My neighbour ran out to the guy and he shot him. His wife came running after him and gave CPR. He came and shot at her," he said.
"The shooter aimed his gun up, I crawled on the floor and he shot the window," added Mr Israel, an Israeli army veteran who has lived in the settlement for three decades.
It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Jerusalem in over a decade.
Neve Ya’akov is a working class, ultra-orthodox Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, roughly six miles from the Old City.
A synagogue, Averet Avraham, is next to the junction where most of the victims were gunned down, as well as a graffiti-covered play area.
On Saturday, most of the debris from the previous night's attack had been cleared away, though it was still far from a normal scene.
As orthodox Jews dressed in kippahs, suits and tallit shawls gathered at the intersection, an Israeli security officer with an automatic weapon kept a close eye on them.
In an apartment block overlooking the junction, four Jewish children in black hats and coats sat in a window watching the mourners, their legs dangling over the windowsill.
One middle-aged man strolling through the settlement with his two young children paused to grimly survey the scene. A handgun could be seen poking from the belt of his trousers.
As it was Shabbat, the sabbath day when work is forbidden in Judaism, the Telegraph was asked by one police officer not to take notes or photographs inside the ultra-orthodox settlement.
Contrary to initial reports, residents said the gunman did not launch his attack as Jews were leaving the synagogue, as worshippers had long departed by 8.15pm. But a number of residents were out walking to Shabbat dinners when the shooting started.
Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, such as Neve Ya'akov are considered illegal under international law by many countries, including Britain.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but it appears to have been retaliation over an Israeli raid on the refugee camp of Jenin in the West Bank on Thursday. An elderly woman was among nine people killed in the raid, which Israel said was targeting Islamic Jihad militants plotting an attack on Israelis.
Israeli police announced on Saturday afternoon that they had raised the national terror alert to its highest level, adding that two teams of Yamam special operatives – the equivalent of SWAT in the United States – were being deployed to Jerusalem.
Elsewhere in Jerusalem, Israelis dressed in formal attire for Shabbat continued their weekly Saturday strolls.
But the Telegraph saw that a number of young men were carrying automatic weapons, which hung incongruously on slings over their immaculate black suits.