Eight people were killed and nine others were wounded Thursday evening when a terrorist infiltrated the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood in Jerusalem, police said.
A single terrorist infiltrated the yeshiva and began firing in every direction. He was shot and killed, police said.
Three of the injured were listed as being in serious condition and taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem, while the other six were lightly hurt and taken to Sha’arei Tzedek Medical Center. One of the injured is 15 years old. MDA declared the incident a “multiple casualty event.”
Media reports said the terrorist was apparently a resident of East Jerusalem.
An organization calling itself “Galilee Freedom Battalions - the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh” took responsiblity for the attack, according to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television. The veracity of the claim was not clear.
Hezbollah has vowed to avenge last month’s assassination of its terror chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus. The organization has blamed Israel, which has denied any role in the killing.
Yitzhak Danon, a student at the yeshiva, told Channel 2 television that one terrorist entered the seminary’s library, and fired for several minutes at students with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Danon said he shot the terrorist twice in the head.
Michael, another student who only gave his first name, said he saw a terrorist enter the complex, and fire for some 10 minutes. “He fired 500-600 bullets,” he said, adding that most of those hurt were high school age.
Witnesses said about 80 people were gathered in the library.
A large number of security and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, with some 50 ambulances summoned.
Police and Israel Defense Forces troops searched the complex and the surrounding area in order to determine whether a second or possibly third terrorist was still holed up inside the yeshiva or had fled.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski told Channel 2 television, “It’s very sad tonight in Jerusalem - many people were killed in the heart of Jerusalem.”
“There was a lot of gunfire and hysteria,” a woman who lives across the street from the school told the radio. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In Gaza, Hamas welcomed the terrorist attack. “We bless the [Jerusalem] operation. It will not be the last,” Hamas said in a statement.
In Gaza City, residents went out into the streets and fired rifles in celebration in the air after hearing news of the attack on the yeshiva.