Funerals were held Friday for the eight victims of Thursday night's terror attack at a Jerusalem yeshiva, or rabbinical seminary. VOA's Jim Teeple reports police imposed a security clampdown on Arab East Jerusalem where the Palestinian gunmen who carried out the attack lived.
There was grief in Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of Israelis converged on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva to mourn the victims of Thursday night's terror attack. Funerals for the victims took place at cemeteries across the city.
The attack was the worst to occur in Israel in two years and shocked many Jerusalemites who have grown accustomed to relaxed security measures in recent years as terrorist attacks have greatly diminished.
While there was grief there was also anger at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva. The yeshiva is a stronghold of the Jewish settler movement and many settler leaders have studied there. Reuben, a former student, who did not wish to give his last name, expressed the feelings of many who came there to mourn on Friday.
"It is about time we stopped messing around and fooling around with our country," said Reuben. "We are here in the Middle East, which is full of terrorists who have sworn since we came here, rightfully to our land, they swore to kill us. This is no time to have any dialogue. If they want to kill us, we should kill them.
Others in the crowd like Mandel Nadler said they appreciated the outpouring of support for Israel in the wake of the attack - especially from the United States.
"We appreciate the United States support for Israel's fight against terrorism," said Nadler. "This is a world problem, it is a religious problem. It is a social problem and we very much appreciate the U.S support and its citizen's support for those of us here who are trying to fight against terrorism and make the world safe for all normal people."
Police identified the gunmen as a 25-year-old Palestinian man, Ala Abu Dheim, who lived in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. Police say he worked as a driver. Family members say he did not belong to any Palestinian militant group. They say he was quiet and religious, but had become increasingly agitated in recent days over the deaths of more than 120 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces in their operations against Palestinian militants firing rockets at southern Israel.
Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld says a car used by the gunmen was found near the yeshiva. He says the focus of the police investigation now is how the gunman managed to obtain a Kalashnikov rifle and a large number of ammunition clips.
"We are continuing the investigation to see if he might have received specific orders to carry out the attack in terms of equipment," said Rosenfeld. "That allowed him to arrive in Jerusalem with an AK-47, Kalashnikov rifle, with over eight clips, and that is something that has to be coordinated obviously with other individuals.
Senior Israeli government officials said Friday they have no plans to suspend negotiations with the moderate Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas who has condemned the attack.
However they say the attack shows that Mr. Abbas must do more to control Palestinian militancy in the West Bank, saying that the gunmen who carried out Thursday night's attack could not have done so without some sort of help from Palestinians in the West Bank.