A series of four attacks and attempted-attacks spanned three days.
By Erin Viner
Eyewitnesses said that after exiting his vehicle, the terrorist first shot an elderly woman in the street and a passing motorcyclist before shooting into a crowd of Jewish worshippers leaving Friday evening services at the Ateret Avraham Synagogue.
Seven civilians who died of their injuries were identified as: Eli Mizrachi, 48, his wife Natalie Mizrachi, 45, Rafael Ben Eliyahu, 56, Shaul Hai, 68; Irina Korolova, 59; and Ilya Sosansky, 26, and Asher Natan, 14. Three other civilians sustained moderated wounds.
Police who rushed to the scene located the gunman in the nearby Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina.
“We immediately pursued the terrorist while he fired toward us. We responded with fire toward him, and the vehicle stopped. The terrorist disembarked and continued firing at us. At this stage, we disembarked, shot back and eliminated him to averted harm to additional civilians,” said one of the officers.
The attacker was identified as Kheiry Alkam, 21, of the A-Tur Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
After visiting the site, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attack “one of the most severe we have known in years, and our hearts go out to the families of the wounded and dead.” Commending the officers for their swift action, the Israeli leader said, “We must act with determination and composure. I call on people not to take the law into their own hands.” He convened the Security Cabinet to meet on Saturday, adding, “We have decided on several immediate steps that will begin tonight.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was in the United States for a personal trip, immediately returned home. “This is a serious and sad attack on Shabbat evening, targeting civilians. I am sending condolences to the families of the murdered and wishing a speedy recovery to the injured,” he said, pledging, “The security establishment under my leadership will act hard and without compromise against terrorism and will get to all those involved in the attack.”
Friday’s shooting, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, drew wide condemnation and condolence, including by United States President Joe Biden, the United Nations and Israel’s Arab and Western allies.
“We share Israel’s pain after the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Among the victims is a Ukrainian woman. Sincere condolences to the victims’ families,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter, adding, “The crimes were cynically committed on the Intl Holocaust Remembrance Day. Terror must have no place in today’s world. Neither in Israel nor in Ukraine.”
Saudi Arabia, which does not have formal ties with Israel, condemned the targeting of civilians and an escalation in violence must be halted.
The PA was joined by the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza in blaming the terror attack on Israel.
“The resistance operation in Jerusalem is a response to the crime committed by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the criminal actions against our people everywhere. This is the natural reaction; the occupation should take responsibility over their crimes and these incidents. We warned that this is a fascist right wing (government). The occupation should take responsibility over this escalation,” declared Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassem.
Iran’s other proxy militias, the PIJ and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, also praised the attack – which was the deadliest single terrorist assault in the Jerusalem area since 2008 and in Israel at large since 2011.
Earlier on Friday, Gaza terrorists fired rockets at Israel, causing no casualties but drawing air strikes by IDF jets, which struck Hamas military targets.
The months of violence in the West Bank, which surged after a spate of lethal Palestinian attacks in Israel last year, have drawn fears the already unpredictable conflict may spiral out of control, triggering a broader confrontation between the sides.
The second terrorist attack on Israeli civilians within 24 hours came on Saturday morning in the City of David just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, when a group of Jewish worshippers en route to prayers at the Western Wall came under fire. Video coverage of the incident reveals the terrorist hiding behind parked cars with a handgun, charging out and shooting when five Jewish pedestrians came into view.
Israel Police International Spokesman Master Sergeant Dean Elsdon described the attack as “an ambush” carried out by a 13-year-old terrorist. Police underscored the unfortunate reality in which terror organizations are actively encouraging and inciting children to carry out attacks against innocent civilians.
A 47-year-old father was critically injured in the shooting, along with his 22-year-old son. The younger victim, who has been identified only as an off-duty IDF paratrooper officer “Lieutenant N,” managed to return fire despite sustaining severe injury.
The assailant, identified as a Palestinian resident of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, is being treated at an Israeli hospital in in serious condition.
Police believe the teenage assailant stole the handgun used in the attack from an unaware relative. Local media reported he had posted a message on social media reading, “Mom, please don’t be angry with me,” prior to the shooting.
Both victims were hospitalized in intensive care for gunshot wounds to their upper bodies.
The commander of the paratrooper’s brigade where “Lt. N” serves issued a statement, saying he “acted proficiently and prevented a more severe attack from taking place,” demonstrating “to us all what it means to be a soldier even when we’re outside the barracks. We’ll continue to operate and prepare for any scenario where we’re needed.” Another officer reported to be close to the officer called him a “hero” for acting “bravely in the face of a terror attack and prevented it from escalating further.”
Once again, Hamas Spokesperson Qassem welcomed the attack.
“The heroic action in Silwan is a confirmation of the continuation of the resistance action in all the occupied territories, and in response to the crimes of the occupation against our people in the holy places,” he said, adding, “The heroic action in Silwan is a confirmation of the continuation of the resistance action in all the occupied territories, and in response to the crimes of the occupation against our people in the holy places.”
A third attempted terror attack was carried out at the Almog Junction, north of the Dead Sea. A gunman arrived at a restaurant and fired one bullet. It is believed he fled the scene after his firearm malfunctioned. The IDF and Israeli police have launched a manhunt for the suspect. There were no reported injuries were reported.
Yesterday, a terrorist armed with a handgun was identified at the outskirts of the community of Kedumim and was neutralized by the community’s civilian security team.
Also on Sunday, IDF soldiers spotted two armed individuals who crossed the border from Syria into Israeli territory and approached the security fence area in the southern Golan Heights. Troops opened fire in accordance with standard operating procedures, hitting one of the infiltrators. Despite administration of initial medical treatment from the soldiers at the scene, he later succumbed to his wounds. The second man fled back into the Arab Republic. No IDF injuries were reported.
This morning, an infiltrator from Lebanon was captured after breaching the Israeli border.