Jerusalem Synagogue Attack Kills Seven; Celebrations Take Place in Gaza and West Bank After Terror Strike

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At least seven people were killed in an attack on an East Jerusalem synagogue on Friday night. The shooting happened around 8 pm local time, near a synagogue on Neve Yaakov Street in East Jerusalem, which is a mainly Palestinian area.

The gunman has been identified as a 21-year-old resident of East Jerusalem. He was shot dead by the police later.

JERUSALEM, Aug. 11, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Palestinians clash with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, Aug. 11, 2019. Clashes erupted on Sunday in East Jerusalem's holy site between Muslim worshippers and Israeli police, sparking fresh tensions, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The Palestinian Red Crescent said at least 14 Palestinians were injured as the Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to the Jewish people as the Temple Mount, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Muammar Awad/Xinhua/IANS

"As a result of the shooting attack, the death of 7 civilians was determined and 3 others were injured with additional degrees of injury," police chief Yaakov Shabtai said, according to CNN.


Jerusalem Post reported that celebrations erupted in some parts of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem after the attack, with Palestinians trooping into the streets and handing out sweets and launching fireworks.

Islamist group Hamas praised the attacker saying the strike was a response to the "crime conducted by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the occupation's criminal actions". Islamic Jihad also praised the attack, while in Ramallah, celebrations erupted on streets. Spontaneous street gatherings and celebratory gunfire were seen in the West Bank city.

Palestinians gathered around the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where some of the wounded were treated, chanting "Death to Terrorists", Reuters reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Israelis to not take law into their hands and launch revenge attacks. "I call on the people not to take the law into their own hands. For that purpose we have an army, police and security forces. They act and will act according to the cabinet instructions," the prime minister said.

Escalating Violence

The attack happened close on the heels of an Israeli operation in Jenin refugee camp, where nine people were killed, most of whom were gunmen belonging to terror outfit Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

In the Synagogue attack, five shooting victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Three people have been hospitalized with serious injuries. The gunman started shooting at anyone that was in his way, the police chief said. "He got in his car and started a killing spree with a pistol at short range," he added.

Fatah Faction Justifies Terror Attack

Palestine's ruling Fatah said the terror attack was the 'inevitable result of the escalating crimes of the occupation". "We warned of this repeatedly, but the international community did not respond to calls to stop the [Israeli] aggression and put an end to the shedding of Palestinian blood ... The international community must assume its responsibilities towards curbing the aggressive behavior of the occupation government," it said.

White House Condemns Attack

The White House condemned the terror attack, which happpened on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The terror strike ocurred just days ahead of the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Israel and the West Bank.

The US administration said the shootings were "an attack against the civilized world." The White House said President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu and stressed "the iron-clad US commitment to Israel's security."

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