On Tuesday, Israel’s Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch promised to ease gun laws in the wake of a deadly attack that claimed the lives of five people in a Jerusalem synagogue. According to the Times of Israel, it is not yet clear what new regulations will be put in place, but measures will likely focus on firearms for self-defense.
“In the coming hours, I will ease restrictions on carrying weapons,” Aharonovitch said over public radio.
The AFP reported that the new measures are believed to apply to anyone with a firearms license, but especially for security personnel and off-duty soldiers. The right to private gun ownership in Israel is not guaranteed by law, but citizens over the age of 27 may apply for a firearm license. The age limit is lowered if the applicant served time in the military and is raised to 45 if the applicant is a resident of East Jerusalem, where Tuesday’s massacre took place. Worshippers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber said two Palestinians burst into a synagogue during morning prayer armed with a collection of knives, axes, and guns. The attackers killed five people, including three US-Israeli citizens, and injured an additional eight before being killed in a shootout with police. According to The Guardian, the last victim of the brazen attack was a policeman who succumbed to his injuries later that night.
“This is one of the worst attacks we’ve seen in recent years,” said police commissioner Yohanan Danino, who added that security will be increased near the area’s synagogues and mosques to prevent revenge attacks.
World leaders, including President Barrack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack
“Tragically, this is not the first loss of lives that we have seen in recent months,” said President Obama at the White House. “Too many Israelis have died, too many Palestinians have died.”
The synagogue has since reopened for regular services.