A gunman on Friday shot dead seven persons outside a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, in an escalation of tensions following an Israeli military raid in the West Bank a day earlier, AFP reported.

Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the police on Friday described the gunman as a terrorist and said that he has been neutralised.

The emergency response agency identified 10 gunshot victims, including a 70-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy. “I heard a lot of bullets,” a student named Matanel Almalem who lives near the synagogue told AFP.

Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said the gunman “started shooting at anyone that was in his way”, CNN reported.

The attack came a day after nine Palestinians were killed in Israel’s raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Thursday. Later, Palestinian militants fired a rocket from Gaza into Israel.

The escalation of violence took place just days before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Israel and the West Bank.

“We strongly condemn the heinous terror attack that took place this evening at a synagogue in Jerusalem, and are shocked and saddened by the loss of life,” the White House said in a statement on Friday.