JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s national rescue service Mada says a gunman killed five people and wounded three others in a shooting near a synagogue Friday night in east Jerusalem in one of the deadliest attacks on Israelis in years. The gunman was shot and reportedly killed.
The wounded included a 70-year-old in critical condition, the medical service said.
The shooting took place a day after Israeli troops killed nine Palestinians in the deadliest West Bank raid in years.
Thursday's raid in the flashpoint Jenin refugee camp descended into a gunbattle that killed at least nine Palestinians, while clashes elsewhere left a 10th dead. Gaza militants then fired rockets and Israel carried out airstrikes overnight — but the exchange was limited, following a familiar pattern that allows both sides to respond without leading to a major flare-up.
The situation poses a challenge for U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ahead of his trip to the region Sunday. He is likely to discuss the underlying causes of the conflict that continue to fester, the agenda of Israel's new far-right government and the Palestinian Authority's decision to halt security coordination with Israel in retaliation for the deadly raid.
The Biden administration has been deeply engaged with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in recent days, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, underscoring the “urgent need here for all parties to deescalate to prevent the further loss of civilian life and to work together to improve the security situation in the West Bank.”
“We’re certainly deeply concerned by this escalating cycle of violence in the West Bank as well as the rockets that have been apparently fired from Gaza,” Kirby said. “And of course, we condemn all acts that only further escalate tensions.”