JERUSALEM, Israel - Two Arab terrorists infiltrated a Jewish yeshiva (religious seminary) in Jerusalem Thursday night and opened fire in the library, killing eight people and wounding nine.
The terrorists entered the library in the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem's Kiryat Moshe neighorhood, where some 80 students were gathered. They opened fire, killing eight people and injuring nine others before a student, armed with a rifle, gunned down one of the assailants. Four of the injured are in serious to critical condition.
Yitzhak Danon, a student at Merkaz HaRav, told Channel 2 news that one of the gunmen entered the yeshiva's library, open firing on students for several minutes with a Kalashnikov assault rife. Danon, armed with a rifle, shot the terrorist twice in the head.
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Another yeshiva student who witnessed the attack said the terrorists fired for some 10 minutes. "He fired 500 to 600 bullets," he said.
Many security and emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene and some 50 ambulances responded to the call.
Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said a vest on the dead gunmen appeared to be an explosives belt but was instead holding spare ammunition.
Police evacuated students from the building as they began searching for the second gunmen who fled the room.
The Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, home to several hundred students between the ages of 18 and 30, is associated with the leadership of the country's settlement movement.
In Gaza City, Palestinians celebrated the attack in Jerusalem, firing their guns into the air.
"We bless the [Jerusalem] operation. It will not be the last," a Hamas official said.
This was the first terror attack in Jerusalem in more than a year, though the Israeli military and police thwarted many attempted attacks in 2007.
During the second intifada (armed Palestinian uprising) between 2000 and 2004, Jerusalem was a frequent target of terror attacks, including suicide bombings on city buses, restaurants and the souk (outdoor market).