January 27, 2023: Rafael Ben Eliyahu, 56, was one of seven Israelis who were shot and killed, while ten more were wounded, on the street in front of a synagogue in the Nabi Yacoub settlement in the northern part of Jerusalem. The suspected shooter, a 21-year-old Palestinian, was shot and killed by Israeli police at the scene.
Israel has officially identified the Israelis killed in the attack as Asher Natan, 14, Eli Mizrahi, 48, Natali Mizrahi, 45, Ilya Sosansky, 26, Rafael Ben Eliyahu, 56, Shaul Hai, 68, and the Ukrainian national as Irina Korolova, 60.
The attack came just a day after ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces – nine in Jenin and one in Jerusalem. Since the beginning of January, 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, including several children, while no Israelis were killed until this attack. During the Israeli assault in Jenin Thursday, in addition to killing nine Palestinians, the Israeli military also blocked ambulances from reaching the hospital and fired tear gas into a children’s ward at the hospital.
Friday’s shooting took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27th.
The Palestinian man who was shot and killed by Israeli police, the suspected shooter in the attack, was identified as 21-year-old Khairi Alkam. According to Al Jazeera, Alkam’s grandfather and namesake was stabbed to death by an Israeli settler in 1998.
The location of the settlement where the attack took place was the Nabi Yacoub colony, which was constructed on illegally-seized Palestinian land in the neighborhood of Silwan.
This neighborhood has been the target of massive Israeli expansion and Palestinian displacement in recent years, as Israeli authorities try to remove the Palestinian presence and replace the ancient residents of the neighborhood with newly-arrive Zionist colonizers — particularly in the Wadi Hilweh area adjacent to the Al-Aqsa mosque, and in the rest of the Silwan neighborhood.
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir toured the scene of the crime, followed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The officials held an emergency cabinet meeting.
US President Joe Biden called Netanyahu on Friday night, calling the shooting “an attack against the civilized world,” and stressed “the iron-clad US commitment to Israel’s security”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Israel next week. He said on Friday, “The United States condemns in the strongest terms the horrific terrorist attack. We are in close contact with our Israeli partners and reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”
According to Israeli Channel 12, “The perpetrator of the attack in the Jewish synagogue got out of a car and carried out the attack with a pistol in Jerusalem.” In addition to the seven killed, ten others were taken to the hospital with injuries ranging from moderate to severe.
Some Israeli media questioned the speed with which the Israeli police arrived on the scene, saying that the Israeli police did not arrive at the scene of the accident until about 20 minutes later. According to those reports, some witnesses said that the police initially believed that the noise came from shots fired in the air from neighborhoods close to occupied Jerusalem.
On Thursday, Israeli soldiers killed Yousef Yahia Abdul-Karim Mheisin, 22, near Ramallah in the central West Bank, during a procession condemning the Israeli onslaught on Jenin, leading to the killing of nine Palestinians, including one woman and two siblings.
The slain Palestinians have been identified as:
- Saeb Mahmoud Ezreiqi, 24, Jenin city.
- Ezzeddin Yassin Salahat, 26, Jenin refugee camp.
- Abdullah Marwan Al-Ghoul, 18, Jenin refugee camp.
- Wasim Amjad Aref Abu Al-Ja’as, 22, Jenin refugee camp.
- Majeda Obeid, 61, Jenin refugee camp.
- Mo’tasem Mahmoud Abu Al-Hasan, 40, Al-Yamoun town.
- Mohammad Mahmoud Sobeh, 30, Burqin town.
- Mohammad Sami Ghneim, 28, Burqin town.
- Nour Sami Ghneim, 25, from Burqin.
The soldiers also killed one Palestinian, Yousef Yahia Abdul-Karim Mheisin, 22, in the Al-Ram town, north of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank, during a procession condemning the Israeli onslaught on Jenin.
Also Thursday, a Palestinian child, Nayef Oweidat, 13, died from serious wounds he suffered last year during the Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
Rafael was from Jerusalem. Source: IMEMC