Towards a new cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians?

A Palestinian killed seven people on Friday evening, January 27, in an attack near a synagogue in East Jerusalem.

A shooting that comes a day after an Israeli raid Thursday in Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank, which left nine Palestinians dead.

Friday night's attack - in which the perpetrator was shot - took place in Neve Yaakov, a Jewish settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem, part of the Holy City annexed by Israel, amid international calls to prevent further escalation after more than a day and a half of violence in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, and on the evening of World Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“It is particularly despicable that this attack happened on a place of worship, and [on this] day of commemoration” of the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis during World War II, said the spokesman for Antonio Guterres secretary General of the United Nations.

"Seven innocent people were massacred" by the assailant, a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, who opened fire in the street at around 8:15 p.m. (1815 GMT), according to police.

It is "one of the worst attacks we have suffered in recent years," Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai told reporters on the spot.

According to the police, "the terrorist was neutralized and pronounced dead" after a car chase and a shootout with police officers.

The Magen David Adom (MDA), the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross, said it had identified a total of ten victims hit by bullets, including a 70-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy.

An AFP photographer saw on the spot three bodies lying in the street.

Washington, Paris and Rome condemn this "terrorist attack"

The news of the attack was followed by scenes of jubilation in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip by residents waving Palestinian flags, according to AFP journalists. 

While at the scene of the shooting, dozens of Israelis greeted the Israeli Prime Minister with cries of "Death to the Arabs!"

Speaking later on television, Benjamin Netanyahu promised "immediate action", without elaborating, and called on the Israelis not to take justice into their own hands but to rely on the army and the police. 

The attack on Jerusalem "is a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation (Israel, editor's note) against our Palestinian people," said Hazem Qassem, spokesman for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in Gaza.

The attack was condemned by the American president, who called on the Israeli prime minister to assure him of "the unwavering commitment of the United States to the security of Israel".

Joe Biden blasted the "atrocious terrorist attack" calling it an "attack on the civilized world," according to a White House statement.        

The deputy spokesman for the State Department, Vedant Patel, confirmed the program of the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, who must go from Sunday to Egypt then Monday and Tuesday to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

During this trip to the Middle East, Antony Blinken will discuss "measures to be taken for a de-escalation of tensions", said Mr Patel.

Paris, for its part, condemned "the appalling terrorist attack" in East Jerusalem, and Rome "a cowardly terrorist attack".

Deadly Israeli raid, Hamas rockets and airstrikes

In addition to the nine dead, the Israeli army's raid in Jenin on Thursday morning also left several dozen injured.

Israel presented it as a preemptive action against an Islamic Jihad cell that was planning an attack in Israel.

The United Nations has not recorded such a high toll in a single Israeli operation in the West Bank since it began counting the victims of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2005.

A tenth Palestinian was killed Thursday by Israeli fire in Al-Ram, near Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

In retaliation, rockets were fired overnight from Thursday to Friday towards Israel from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian territory under Hamas control since 2007. Israel responded overnight with airstrikes against what the army presented as Hamas' "underground rocket factory" in Gaza.

No casualties were recorded in these exchanges of missiles.

In response to the Israeli raid in Jenin, the Palestinian Authority decided to end security cooperation with Israel, a first since 2020.

With AFP

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