Jerusalem Photo: Albin Hillert/World Council of Churches

A gunman opened fire outside an east Jerusalem settlement synagogue on 27 January, killing seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, and wounding ten others before he was shot and killed by police, officials said.

”There is a particular horror in any such attack which takes place at a place of worship,” said Pillay. I condemn this violence unequivocally, as I do all violence between the peoples and communities of this region which has seen so much bloodshed in the name of religion.” Pillay added 

"Violence, collective punishments, and communal attacks can only further damage the prospects of peace and justice for all," Pillay added.

”I am therefore also deeply concerned about the heightened tensions and increased violence,” he said. "The tensions and tragedies of this city, holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, are a reminder both of the need for all parties to continue to work intensively for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.”

The attack on the synagogue came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine people including an old lady, in the West Bank city of Jenin.

”We strongly condemn the attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Jenin,” said Pillay. Without an end to the occupation, the cycle of violence will continue.”

“We pray for the victims and their families,” he said, “and we seek God’s mercy, love and grace that we may be empowered with strength to continue our common work for just peace in the Holy Land.”

Another shooting at a settlement in the Silwan neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday wounded two Israeli settlers, according to Israeli police.

Last year was the deadliest for both Palestinians in the West Bank and for Israelis in nearly two decades. In January 2023 more than 40  people killed and among them 8 children.