Deadly Jerusalem attack worst in 2 years; peace talks go on
The PA has condemned the attack; Hamas has celebrated it. Israel and the PA pledge that peace talks will go on. The Reuters photo stream is graphic.
Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip claimed responsibility on Friday for the shooting of eight students in a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem, the most lethal Palestinian attack in Israel in two years.
A gunman killed the students late on Thursday at the Merkaz Harav religious school in Jerusalem, but the Israeli government pledged to press on with peace talks with West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas's rival.
"The Hamas movement announces its full responsibility for the Jerusalem operation," a Hamas official told Reuters in Gaza. "The movement will release the details at a later stage."
He spoke on condition of anonymity and the group released no official statement. Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
The shooting attack had been greeted with celebrations in the Gaza Strip, where an Israeli offensive in recent days killed more than 120 Palestinians, about half of whom were identified as civilians.
After the attack, the deadliest in Israel since April 2006 and the first in Jerusalem in four years, Israel imposed a security clampdown on the holy city as thousands attended funerals for the Jewish victims, who were aged 15 to 26.
The gunman, whose family in Arab East Jerusalem said he once worked as a driver for the college, was shot dead after opening fire with an automatic rifle at students in the library.
Israel has deployed thousands of police and set up road blocks across Jerusalem on Friday, Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman said.
Police were also limiting Palestinian access to the al-Aqsa mosque due to fears violence could break out in the Old City as both Jews and Muslims gathered for prayers.
The Israeli military, meanwhile, sealed off the occupied West Bank until Saturday night.
Israeli defence officials said the attacker came from east Jerusalem, the predominantly Arab section of the city which Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
In contrast to Palestinians in the West Bank, those in Jerusalem have Israeli identification cards, allowing them relatively free movement inside Israel.
Police said the attacker, believed to be in his early 20s, worked for a private transport company but did not elaborate.
Nadav Eliayahu Samuels was shot several times in Thursday's attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the CBC's Peter Armstrong reported Friday from Jerusalem.
Samuels — who holds Israeli, Canadian and British citizenship — is listed in critical but stable condition with multiple gunshot wounds around his body and is heavily medicated, Armstrong said.
He is scheduled to undergo a second round of surgery on Saturday, but is expected to make a full recovery, his father Noah Samuels told CBC News Friday.
His family is from Toronto, but moved to Israel in 1983.