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At least 7 people killed in a Jerusalem synagogue shooting

Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces stand near a covered body at the site of a reported attack in a settler neighborhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on Friday.
Ahmad Gharabli
/
AFP via Getty Images
Israeli emergency service personnel and security forces stand near a covered body at the site of a reported attack in a settler neighborhood of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on Friday.

Updated January 27, 2023 at 5:24 PM ET

Israeli police say a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people and injured several more at a synagogue in Jerusalem's Neve Yaakov neighborhood, in one of the deadliest attacks on Israelis in years.

Israeli media report Jewish worshipers had finished Friday night Sabbath prayers and were outside the synagogue when the gunman, identified by police as a 21-year-old man from East Jerusalem, opened fire. Police say the gunman drove away and police stopped him, and he opened fire on police officers, who shot and killed him.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the country Friday night and promised Israel would respond, but didn't specify how. He also told Israelis not to act on their own but to let Israel's security forces take action.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel called Friday's shooting in Jerusalem an "absolutely horrific" attack. "Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those killed or injured in this heinous act of violence," he said at a news briefing. "We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms. We are in direct touch with our Israeli partners."

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre promised the U.S. "will extend our full support to the government and people of Israel. Accordingly, the president has directed his national security team to engage immediately with Israeli counterparts to offer all appropriate support in assisting the wounded and bringing the perpetrators of this horrible crime to justice."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to travel to the region this weekend and the State Department said there was no change to his schedule.

The attack comes as violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank has intensified. On Thursday, the Israeli military conducted its deadliest raid there in years, leaving at least nine people dead including a 61-year-old woman. Israel said it was raiding the home of a militant in the crowded Jenin refugee camp.

Following that, militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward Israel and Israeli warplanes bombed Hamas sites in Gaza a day after the deadliest Israeli raid in the West Bank in years. There were no injuries reported from the rocket fire or air strikes.

Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said in a statement condemning Friday's attack, "The Secretary-General is deeply worried about the current escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. This is the moment to exercise utmost restraint."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.