New gun attack in east Jerusalem after synagogue mass shooting

13-year-old Palestinian boy shoots at father, son in Silwan; Israeli authorities arrest 42 in connection with Friday's synagogue shooting


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Israeli policemen secure a shooting attack site in east Jerusalem on Saturday. — AP
Israeli policemen secure a shooting attack site in east Jerusalem on Saturday. — AP

Published: Sat 28 Jan 2023, 8:37 PM

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy shot and wounded a father and son in east Jerusalem on Saturday hours after a gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue, raising fears of escalation despite international calls for calm.

Police said the latest gun attack occurred on Saturday morning in Silwan just outside the old, walled city in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

A father, 47, and his 23-year-old son sustained gunshot wounds to their upper bodies and were rushed to hospital, police and medics said.

Police had earlier announced the arrest of 42 people in connection with Friday's synagogue attack, one of the deadliest in Jerusalem in years.

The mass shooting was carried out by a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem who drove up to the synagogue in the Neve Yaakov settler neighbourhood and opened fire during the Jewish Sabbath.

The attack coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It came with tensions rising across the region a day after one of the deadliest army raids in the occupied West Bank in roughly two decades, as well as rocket fire from militants in the Gaza Strip and Israeli retaliatory air strikes.

Crowds shouted "Death to Arabs" as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the scene of the synagogue attack late Friday.

Palestinians held spontaneous rallies to celebrate the killings in Gaza and across the West Bank, including in Ramallah where large crowds swarmed the streets chanting and waving Palestinian flags.

Opposition lawmaker Mickey Levy, from former premier Yair Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid party, warned the surging violence recalled the second intifada, the 2000 to 2005 Palestinian uprising that brought devastation to both sides.

"What happened 20 years ago, it's (starting) to happen right now," he told AFP.

"We need to sit, think how we can advance and stop this situation."

The Palestinian Authority in a statement said Israel was "fully responsible for the dangerous escalation", without commenting on the two gun attacks.

Israel's police chief Kobi Shabtai called the synagogue shooting "one of the worst attacks (Israel) has encountered in recent years".

Several Arab nations that have ties with Israel -- including Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates -- condemned Friday night's shooting.


But the Lebanese group Hezbollah, one of Israel's most prominent foes, praised the attack as "heroic", voicing "absolute support for all the steps taken by the Palestinian resistance factions".

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was "deeply shocked" by the "terrible" Jerusalem attacks and that his country "stands by the side of Israel".

French President Emmanuel Macron said a "spiral of violence must be avoided at all costs", with Russia also calling for "maximum restraint".

The White House has also condemned the violence, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken due in the region next week on a trip where he is expected to call for de-escalation.

The gunman at the synagogue was killed by police during a shootout that followed a brief car chase after the attack.

There has been no indication that he had prior involvement in militant activity or was a member of an established Palestinian armed group.

Authorities have not yet definitively identified the synagogue attacker, but Israeli and Palestinian media have widely named him as Alqam Khayri, who was being praised on some social media platforms including his Facebook page.

Shimon Israel, who lives near the synagogue and witnessed the attack, said he was sitting down for Shabbat dinner when he heard "shooting and shouting".

"A guy stopped (his car) to help... got a bullet in his head and died right here next to me," he said.

Police said 42 people had been arrested after the synagogue shooting, including members of the gunman's immediate family, relatives and neighbours.

Nine people had been killed on Thursday in what Israel described as a "counter-terrorism" operation in the Jenin refugee camp.

It was one of the deadliest Israeli army raids in the West Bank since the second intifada.

Israel said Islamic Jihad operatives were the target.

Islamic Jihad and Hamas both later fired several rockets at Israeli territory.

Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. The military responded with strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza.

There were no injuries reported on either side, but Gaza's armed groups vowed further action.

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