Palestinians celebrate deadly terror shooting in Jerusalem with fireworks, sweets

Celebrations break out after terrorist kills 7, wounds several others, with crowds across West Bank and Gaza chanting, lighting bonfires and passing out treats

Palestinians celebrate a Jerusalem terror attack that killed seven Israelis near a synagogue, in Gaza City, January 27, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Palestinians celebrate a Jerusalem terror attack that killed seven Israelis near a synagogue, in Gaza City, January 27, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza on Friday celebrated a terror attack that killed seven Israelis and wounded at least three others near a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood.

Palestinian media reported celebrations in cities across the West Bank, including Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin, and parts of East Jerusalem.

Videos showed fireworks, celebratory gunfire, drivers honking horns, bonfires and crowds chanting in the streets.

Masked men flashed victory signs and passed out treats in the West Bank city of Hebron.

At several locations across the Gaza Strip, dozens of Palestinians gathered in spontaneous demonstrations to celebrate the attack, with some coming out of dessert shops with large trays of sweets to distribute.

In downtown Gaza City, celebratory gunfire could be heard, as cars honked and calls of “God is great!” blasted from mosque loudspeakers.

After the shooting, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem lauded the attack, saying it proved “the resistance knows how to find the appropriate response” to Israeli “crimes.” Palestinian Islamic Jihad also praised the massacre.

No terror organizations have claimed responsibility for the killings.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, shared a video of the celebrations, calling the events “disgusting.”

“This is the result of decades of Palestinian incitement and hate that the world ignores,” he said.

Medics said after the attack that the dead were five men, aged 20, 25, 30, 50, and 60, and two women, aged 60 and 70. The victims were not immediately named.

The wounded victims included a 15-year-old boy in moderate-to-serious condition, a 24-year-old man in moderate condition, and a 60-year-woman, also in moderate condition.

The terrorist was shot dead by police after fleeing the scene of the attack in the capital’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood. He was named by the Shin Bet security agency as Alqam Khayri, 21, a resident of East Jerusalem with no prior terror-related offenses.

With seven killed, the shooting in Jerusalem was the deadliest terror attack since 2011, when terrorists crossed into Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing eight Israelis. It was the deadliest Palestinian terror attack since 2008, when a gunman from East Jerusalem killed eight Israeli students at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in the capital.

Condemnation for the attack and condolences poured in from around the world, including from the US, UN, the United Arab Emirates and a number of European countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking after visiting the scene of the attack, called it “one of the most severe we have known in years.”

“Our hearts are with the families. I commend the police officers who took action so quickly,” Netanyahu said. “We must act with determination and composure. I call on people not to take the law into their own hands.”

He said the cabinet would convene on Saturday, adding, “We have decided on several immediate steps that will begin tonight.”

Friday’s deadly attack came following days of violence in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Tensions have increased dramatically since Thursday morning, when an Israel Defense Forces raid in the West Bank against a terrorist cell left nine Palestinians dead — most of them gunmen and members of the cell, though at least one civilian was also killed.

The IDF said Thursday’s operation in the Jenin refugee camp was necessary to foil imminent attack plans by a local Islamic Jihad terror cell. The group had primed explosives and firearms, according to the IDF.

Thursday overnight saw rocket fire from Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and Israeli retaliatory air strikes, though both sides appeared intent on avoiding an escalation into a full-scale war.

Tensions were also high in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount on Friday, though Muslim prayers proceeded without issue.

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