On Saturday, a man opened fire at a restaurant near the West Bank city of Jericho, the Israeli military said. Media reported that he subsequently had problems with his gun. That may have prevented more shootings – and casualties. It was the third incident in 24 hours. Surveillance camera footage shows the assailant was armed with an assault rifle. The military is looking for the man. No one was hurt.
Unlike an attack in the morning. A 13-year-old Palestinian man shot and wounded a father and son in an Israeli settlement in the Silwan district of East Jerusalem. The police spoke of a “terrorist attack”. Armed bystanders finally shot the boy. The night before, an attack on visitors to a synagogue that left seven dead caused horror.
Another attack on Israel
On Saturday there was another attack in Israel, in which the killer is said to have been just 13 years old. Two were injured in the gun attack. Violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories continues to rise.
According to initial findings, the killer on Friday in the Israeli settlement of Neve Jaakov was a 21-year-old from East Jerusalem. He was shot while trying to flee. Police arrested at least 42 suspects – relatives and neighbors of the killer. It is not immediately known what they were accused of.
Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live there today. The Palestinians claim the territories for an independent state of Palestine, with the Arab-influenced eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital.
“Prepared for any scenario”
“We are not looking for an escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday night at a security cabinet meeting to deal with the situation after the terrorist attacks. “My heart breaks at the news of the terrible terrorist attacks on Shabbat in Jerusalem,” said Israeli President Yitzchak Herzog. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was horrified after the attacks. “I am deeply shocked by the news of the horrific attacks in Jerusalem,” he wrote on Twitter.
Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen condemned the “terrible attack” in the strongest possible terms and was “deeply concerned about the spiral of violence in recent days”. “The attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem makes it painfully clear that we must continue to fight anti-Semitism and terrorism with determination,” tweeted Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP). National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka also condemned the terrorist attacks. “It is shocking that innocent people were attacked after a service in a synagogue – and of all things on International Holocaust Remembrance Day,” Sobotka said, according to his spokesman.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also condemned the “cynical crime” on the anniversary of the Nazi genocide against Jews. According to the 45-year-old man, who has Jewish roots, a Ukrainian woman was also among the victims.
AP/Mahmoud Illean officers guarded the scene of the attack at a synagogue on Friday night.
Palestinian leadership blames Israel
Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also condemned the attack. Saudi Arabia, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, also said it condemned “any attack on civilians”. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, on the other hand, responded to Friday’s terrorist attack with celebrations. The Palestinian leadership issued a statement saying Israel was “fully responsible for the dangerous escalation”. 31 Palestinians have already been killed this year. People, including several young people, died in connection with military operations and their own attacks.
On Thursday, nine people were killed in an operation by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, including members of the Palestinian militant organization Islamic Jihad. It was one of the deadliest military operations in the Palestinian Authority in years.
Minister of Police wants to “better arm citizens”
Netanyahu again urged his compatriots not to take the law into their own hands, but to let the army, government and security forces do their job. Far-right Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has previously called for citizens to be “better armed to prevent such attacks”. Ben-Gvir is considered a political arsonist and has been convicted of racist hate speech and supporting a Jewish terrorist organization.
According to media reports, tens of thousands of people across the country protested against the new far-right government and its planned reforms to the judicial system on Saturday night. Protesters lit candles to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks. They also observed a minute of silence for the dead. Some observers warn of the end of Israeli democracy in view of planned reform.