Benjamin Netanyahu has promised a “strong and swift” response to a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Israel after police arrested 42 people over the Holocaust Day synagogue shooting.
The Israeli military sent more troops into the occupied West Bank a day after a Palestinian gunman shot dead seven people on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and two people were wounded in another shooting attack in the city on Saturday.
The Israeli Prime Minister said: “Our response will be strong, quick and precise.
“We are not aiming for an escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario.”
The attacks came towards the end of a month of growing confrontation and followed an Israeli raid in the West Bank that killed nine Palestinians, including seven gunmen, and cross-border fire between Israel and Gaza.
Benjamin Netanyahu has promised a “strong and swift” response to a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Israel
A Palestinian gunman shot dead seven people on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and two people were injured in another shooting attack in the city on Saturday
The Prime Minister’s Security Cabinet was due to meet later today.
Friday’s attack outside a synagogue was the deadliest in the Jerusalem area since 2008.
The shooter, Khaire Alkam, was a 21-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem.
A 14-year-old boy was among the dead, police said. No group has claimed responsibility for the shooting and Alkam’s father told Portal his son has no links to militants.
He struck in territory Israel annexed from Jerusalem after it was captured in the 1967 Middle East War in an internationally unrecognized move.
Police said he tried to flee by car but was chased by officers and shot dead.
Friday’s attack outside a synagogue was the deadliest in the Jerusalem area since 2008
According to the police, 42 suspects, including his family members, were arrested.
On Saturday, police said a 13-year-old Palestinian boy opened fire on a group of bystanders, injuring two people before being shot and injured by one of them.
This incident happened near Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood that lies below the old city walls of Jerusalem.
The attacks underscore the potential for escalating violence after months of escalating clashes in the West Bank.
At least 30 Palestinians – militants and civilians – have been killed there since early 2023.
The IDF raid in Jenin on Thursday was the deadliest such incident there in years. Israel’s military said Saturday it was sending an additional battalion to the West Bank.
“The region is heading for an unprecedented escalation,” said Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Visiting a hospital in Jerusalem treating the injured, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said he would try to increase the number of gun permits.
“I want guns on the street. I want Israeli citizens to be able to protect themselves,” he said.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the pro-settler Religious Zionism party, said he would call for an acceleration of Israeli settlement plans in the West Bank, which his party hopes will eventually be annexed.
Both Ben-Gvir and Smotrich are members of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, but there has been no sign that he would meet their demands, some of which have been made in the past.
Police said the gunman in Friday’s attack arrived at 8:15 p.m. and opened fire with a handgun, hitting a number of people before he was killed by police.
Shimon Israel, 56, who lives nearby, said his family had just started eating the Sabbath when they heard gunshots and screams.
He opened the window and saw his neighbor running into the street to call the police.
“I told him, ‘Eli, don’t go there. Eli don’t go.’ He just got married a year ago. A good neighbor, like a brother. He ran. I saw him fall there,” Israel told Portal.
“Natali, his wife, ran after him. She saw someone here and tried to revive him. The terrorist came and shot her from behind and got her too,” he said.
The gunman was a relative of a 17-year-old Palestinian man who was shot dead in clashes with Israeli forces at a refugee camp in Jerusalem on Wednesday, his family said.
His father, Moussa Alkam, said he didn’t know if his son was seeking revenge.
“He is neither the first nor the last young man to be martyred and we are proud of what he has done,” Alkam said.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made no mention of the shootings in a statement released by the official Palestinian agency WAFA, blaming Israel for the escalation of violence.
Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, which has limited governmental powers in the West Bank, suspended security cooperation agreements with Israel after the deadly Jenin raid.
The shooting on Friday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, was condemned by the White House and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for “extreme restraint”.
It came days ahead of a planned visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Israel and the West Bank.
A Ukrainian was among the dead, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
Jordan and Egypt, Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel, also condemned the shooting, as did the United Arab Emirates, one of several Arab states that normalized ties with Israel just over two years ago.
Saudi Arabia, which has no formal ties with Israel, condemned the attack on civilians and said it was necessary to stop an escalation in violence.
Iran-backed group Hezbollah in Lebanon praised the attack and Hamas welcomed it in response to Thursday’s raid on Jenin, as did the smaller Islamic Jihad group.
Earlier Friday, militants in Gaza fired rockets at Israel, causing no casualties but drawing Israeli airstrikes into the blocked stretch of coast. The Palestinian Health Ministry said on Friday that three Palestinians were hospitalized after they were shot dead by an Israeli settler in the northern West Bank.