At least seven people were killed and several others were injured, including one critically, in a shooting attack on the Ateret Avraham Synagogue in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday evening.
Magen David Adom paramedics evacuated five injured people to hospitals, including three who were evacuated to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, and two who were evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital. These include a man about 30 years old in critical condition and a woman about 60 years of age in moderate condition.
Initial reports indicate that a terrorist got out of a vehicle and opened fire at people who were gathered outside the synagogue, opened fire at them, and then continued to pursue frightened worshipers who were fleeing the scene.
The terrorist eventually fled the scene in a white Toyota and was met by police officers who shot him dead.
The terrorist has been identified as Alkam Khairi, a 21-year-old resident of eastern Jerusalem.
The Israel Police said, “The initial investigation of the terrorist's identity suggests that he committed the terrorist attack by himself. Findings suggest that he is a 21-year-old resident of East Jerusalem.”
“Following the initial reports, police forces were dispatched to the scene and engaged with the terrorist while he was fleeing the scene, minutes from when the initial reports were received. By doing so, officers prevented further massacre and killing of innocent civilians,” the statement continued.
“Following a pursuit and fire exchange with the terrorist, police officers neutralized the terrorist and he was pronounced dead. 7 civilians were killed in the attack and 3 additional were injured.”
“The weapon and vehicle used by the terrorist were apprehended by police forces. Security forces are continuing activity to check for others involved in the attack,” concluded the statement.
Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said, "This is a serious and complex attack with a large number of victims. We are currently conducting searches in the area to rule out the possibility that there are more people involved who are walking around freely. The terrorist was neutralized by a police officer and a volunteer of the Israel Police, which prevented a bigger attack."
Superintendent Doron Turgeman, commander of the Jerusalem district of the Israel Police, provided an update at the scene.
"The terrorist arrived at Neve Yaakov Boulevard, opened fire, hit several people, continued in his car and drove in the general direction of Beit Hanina. The police officers at the scene received a report and began to strive for contact. They recognized the vehicle which began to fire at them, they began pursuing him. The terrorist began to flee on foot, the police chased after him and succeeded in neutralizing him."
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir arrived at the scene and was briefed by police on the situation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the scene as well.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was on a trip abroad, has cut short his trip and will return to Israel. On the way, he held an assessment of the situation with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Ronen Bar, Defense Ministry Director General Eyal Zamir and other top defense officials.
At the conclusion of the assessment of the situation, the minister said, "This is a serious and sad attack against civilians on the eve of Shabbat. The defense establishment under my leadership will act strongly and uncompromisingly against terrorism and will reach all those involved in the attack."
Opposition leader Yair Lapid commented on the attack and said, “A difficult and painful Erev Shabbat. The heart breaks when seeing the difficult sights. Terror in a synagogue, a criminal terrorist, a cold-blooded killer. I send my condolences to the families who lost their dearest and wish recovery to the injured. The security forces neutralized the terrorist and will lay hands on anyone who helped him.”
“Terrorism must not be allowed to rear its head, the terrorists and their senders must be dealt with harshly,” he added.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman said, “A shocking massacre tonight in Jerusalem. I send condolences to the families of the murdered, strengthen the security forces operating in the field and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. The government must exact a heavy price from the perpetrators of the attack and their senders.”
Labor chairwoman MK Merav Michaeli commented, “A difficult and cruel evening with the terrible attack in Jerusalem. The serious terrorism rears its head and murderously crushes Israeli families. My heart goes out to the victims and the families of the murdered.”
“This terrorism must be fought hard and without compromise,” she added.
Ra’am chairman MK Mansour Abbas said, "We condemn every attack in which civilians and innocents are murdered. We call on everyone to exercise restraint and cooperate in order to calm the situation."
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)