At least five people were shot dead in a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem Friday, Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency service said, as violence escalated following an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Police said five people were declared dead and the shooter was killed at the scene. Three more were injured and taken to hospital. A 70-year-old was in “critical condition,” they said.
The attack in east Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, came after the deadliest Israeli raid in the West Bank in decades. Nine Palestinians, including a 61-year-old woman and seven militants were killed in Thursday’s raid on Jenin, a rare daytime operation that Israel’s military said was carried out to to prevent an imminent attack.
Israel then carried out airstrikes in Gaza early Friday after Palestinian militants fired rockets, a limited exchange that nonetheless raised concerns of further flare-ups.
Concerns that months of growing violence could worsen have been exacerbated by the return to power of Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm of a government considered to be Israel’s most far-right ever. The United States and the United Nations expressed alarm after the latest incidents, which come ahead of a visit to the region by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
His trip was announced just hours after Thursday’s raid on the Jenin camp.
Palestinian militant groups identified seven of the nine people killed as their fighters, with 20 more people wounded. Israel said that it had killed a number of militants during a gunbattle and was looking into reports of other deaths.
Israel confirmed five rockets were later fired at its territory, and three were intercepted. One fell in an open area and another fell short inside Gaza, it said. Israeli airstrikes targeted an underground rocket manufacturing site for Hamas, as well as militant training areas, the military said.
“The terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip suffered a blow tonight from IDF fire in a series of attacks,” Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said Friday of the airstrikes on Twitter.
There were no reports of casualties on either side.
Earlier, there was relative calm in Jerusalem as Friday prayers were held. In the nearby town of al-Ram there was a small confrontation between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces after the funeral of a 22-year-old who was killed a day earlier during a protest against the Israeli raid in Jenin, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Across the Gaza strip, tens of thousands of Palestinian gathered in protest in various cities.