People light candles in memory of the seven people murdered in Jerusalem
People light candles in memory of the seven people murdered in JerusalemNoam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Following last night's terror attacks in which seven Israelis were murdered and a number of others left injured in two separate incidents, Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, held a situation assessment in a classified security location, together with the IDF's Chief of General Staff, Herzi Halevi, Head of the ISA (Shabak), and other security officials.

Gallant was briefed on the details of the recent events and intelligence operations being conducted by Israeli security forces. He instructed the defense establishment to assess a series of immediate actions to be taken against lone attackers, their associates, and family members.

In addition, Gallant and the Halevi agreed on the need to reinforce and support efforts by the Israel police.

“I instructed Israel’s defense establishment to increase defensive activities, particularly in the Jerusalem area, and to increase pre-emptive operations against anyone planning attacks on our citizens," said Gallant, adding that he was mulling punitive actions against terrorists' families.

"I instructed our professional echelon and legal teams to assess a series of possible sanctions against terrorists and their families. We will not allow a situation in which an individual who receives government benefits murders Israeli citizens, and then continues to remain a resident of the State," pointed out the minister.

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.

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, who has been identified as Alkam Khairi, a 21-year-old resident of eastern Jerusalem, eventually fled the scene in a white Toyota and was met by police officers who shot him dead.

“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,” read a statement by Israeli police.

“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.

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 as did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was forced to cut short a trip abroad and held a situational assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Ronen Bar, Defense Ministry Director General Eyal Zamir, and other top security officials on his way to Israel.

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."