Jan 27, 2023 - World

At least 7 Israelis killed in shooting attack at Jerusalem synagogue

Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces stand at the scene of a shooting attack in Jerusalem.

Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces at the scene of a shooting attack in Jerusalem on Jan. 27. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty images

Police say a gunman opened fire on worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue Friday night local time, killing at least seven Israeli citizens and wounding three others in an incident that officials are describing as a terror attack.

The big picture: The gunman, who authorities identified as a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem, was also killed, police said. It's the deadliest attack on Israelis since the new right-wing government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assumed office. It comes amid escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. 

Driving the news: Khairi Alqam, a Palestinian from the A-Tur neighborhood in East Jerusalem was identified as the gunman by Israeli police. Police said he opened fire on worshippers as they left the synagogue then fled the scene in a car. (Jerusalem district police had earlier misnamed the gunman.)

  • When authorities blocked the gunman not far from the scene, he opened fire on police, and after a short chase, he was killed, the police commander added.

What they’re saying: Tom Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, called the attack a “horrific act of violence” and noted it took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

  • “I am shocked and disgusted at this heinous terrorist attack on innocent people, including children. Praying for all of the victims and their loved ones,” he wrote in Twitter.
  • White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement that President Biden extends his full support to the government and people of Israel.

State of play: Tensions in the region intensified on Thursday after the Israeli military killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, during a raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

  • Several Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters were killed when a gunfight broke out during the raid. At least 20 Palestinians were wounded, including unarmed civilians.
  • Not long after the raid, the Palestinian Authority suspended its security coordination with Israel, raising concerns the situation in the West Bank could deteriorate even further.

What to watch: Friday's attack took place as CIA director Bill Burns visits Israel and the occupied West Bank. He is expected to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Saturday.

  • Secretary of State Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday for meetings with Israeli leaders. He is also expected to meet with Palestinian officials in the West Bank.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the correct name of the gunman, Khairi Alqam. Israeli police had earlier misidentified the gunman as Fadi Ayyash.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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