Israel: attack on a synagogue in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip bombed

Israel: attack on a synagogue in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip bombed

In the aftermath of the Israeli raids that killed ten Palestinians in the West Bank, tension is at its peak this Friday, January 27. The day was marked by Israeli shelling of Gaza in response to rocket fire blamed on Hamas. And this Friday evening, at least seven people were killed in an attack targeting a synagogue in East Jerusalem during the prayers at the beginning of the Shabbat, an Israeli police spokesman told AFP. The gunman was “neutralized” by the police after opening fire around 8:30 p.m. in Neve Yaacov, a Jewish settlement neighborhood in East Jerusalem, part of the Holy City annexed by Israel.

The United States strongly condemned the “appalling” attack, through Deputy State Department Spokesman Vedant Patel. He specified that there was no change in the program of the head of the American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, who must go from Sunday to Egypt then Monday and Tuesday in Jerusalem and Ramallah. He will discuss “measures to be taken for a de-escalation of tensions”, he added.

Because the situation could flare up at any time. On Thursday, nine Palestinians were killed in Jenin during a raid, described by the Israeli army as an operation against Islamist activists in the refugee camp of this city in the northern West Bank. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israeli territory. And, overnight from Thursday to Friday, the Israeli army carried out strikes on the Gaza Strip targeting the infrastructure of the Islamist movement. No casualties have been reported in the territory under Israeli blockade since 2007. Most of the rockets fired were intercepted by the Israeli air defense system.

A worrying escalation

Palestinian armed groups had promised to respond to Thursday’s Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad took part in this response, Khaled el-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad official, said in a speech Friday, welcoming “unity in the ranks of the resistance”. “Jenin, the response is coming and resistance is our strategy,” read banners at a protest that brought together thousands of people in Gaza.

The operation in the Jenin camp targeted the Islamic Jihad group which was planning an attack in Israel, according to Israeli sources. A UN panel of experts said the death toll was the highest in a single Israeli operation in the West Bank since 2005. “We deplore the latest violent attack by the Israeli army against the Jenin refugee camp” , the experts said in a statement on Friday, who do not speak on behalf of the UN. France urged Israel and the Palestinians “to refrain from fueling the escalation” and the United States said it was “deeply concerned about the escalation of violence”. Washington also said it regretted the decision of the Palestinian Authority, in reaction to the raid, to end security cooperation with Israel, a first since 2020, judging “very important that the parties maintain, even deepen” this cooperation.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila further accused Israeli forces of firing tear gas into the pediatric unit of a hospital in Jenin during their operation, which the army denied. Israel “is not looking for escalation” but is preparing “for all scenarios,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, according to a statement. The Israeli army, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967, carries out almost daily operations through this Palestinian territory, particularly in the areas of Jenin and Nablus (north), strongholds of armed Palestinian factions.


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