UPDATES WITH BLINKEN’S STATEMENT
By Michael Hernandez and Rabia Iclal Turan
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US condemned on Friday the "absolutely horrific" shooting attack on a synagogue in east Jerusalem that killed at least seven people.
"Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to those killed and injured in this heinous act of violence," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters. "We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms. Our commitment to Israel's security remains ironclad, and we are in direct touch with our Israeli partners."
Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned “in the strongest terms” the attack.
“We mourn those killed in the attack, and our thoughts are with the injured, including children,” Blinken said in a separate statement.
“The notion of people being targeted as they leave a house of worship is abhorrent,” he said, adding that it was “particularly tragic” that the attack occurred on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“On behalf of the United States, I express our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wish those injured a full recovery,” he said.
“We are in close contact with our Israeli partners and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” he added.
The agency announced Thursday that Blinken will travel to the region, including Israel and the occupied West Bank next week. Friday's attack is not expected to affect his travel.
Israel's national medical emergency service said seven victims were killed during the attack in the Neve Yaakov Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem. Two additional victims were listed in critical condition, while three others were being treated for injuries listed as serious, moderate to serious and moderate, respectively, it said on Twitter.
Three of the victims were sent to Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital, according to the medical service.
Police later said the gunman arrived in a car and opened fire at a synagogue.
Police killed the gunman in a shootout as he attempted to flee the scene, it added.
Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir also arrived at the scene where he assessed the situation with police chief Kobi Shabtai.
Israel built the Neve Yaakov settlement in 1967 in occupied East Jerusalem.