29 January 2023

Israeli police seal off home of Jerusalem synagogue attacker

29 January 2023

Israeli police have sealed off the east Jerusalem home of a Palestinian attacker who killed seven people and injured three others outside a synagogue.

The move was one of several punitive measures approved by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet overnight.

It followed a deadly weekend in which seven people were killed and five others wounded in two separate shootings in Jerusalem, in one of the bloodiest months in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem in several years.

The measures threatened to further raise tensions and cast a cloud over a visit next week by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The weekend shootings followed a deadly Israeli raid in the West Bank on Thursday that killed nine Palestinians, most of them militants.

In response, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets into Israel, triggering a series of Israeli air strikes in response.

In all, 32 Palestinians have been killed in fighting this month.

Addressing the Cabinet on Sunday morning, Mr Netanyahu said: “We sealed the home of the terrorist who carried out the horrendous attack in Jerusalem, and his home will be demolished.

“We are not seeking an escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario. Our answer to terrorism is a heavy hand and a strong, swift and precise response.”

On Sunday, police released footage of Israeli army engineers fixing metal plates over the windows and welding the front door shut as part of the operation in response to Friday night’s deadly shooting.

They said the attacker, identified as a 21-year-old east Jerusalem resident, was killed in a shootout with officers after fleeing the scene in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox east Jerusalem settlement of Neve Yaakov.

On Saturday, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy opened fire elsewhere in east Jerusalem, wounding two Israeli men, paramedics said. The attacker was shot and taken to hospital.

Funerals for the victims of Friday’s shooting, the deadliest attack on Israelis since 2008, were scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Mr Netanyahu’s Cabinet also said it plans a series of other punitive measures, including cancelling social security benefits for the families of attackers, and will take steps to “strengthen the settlements” this week as part of the government’s response to the weekend’s attacks.

Mr Blinken is expected to arrive on Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

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