Map of Jerusalem (ArcIMS), Qiryat Moshe in orange
According to Ha'aretz, Hizbullah flagship station Al Manar reported that the "Liberators of the Galilee - Shaheed Imad Mughniya Group" took responsibility for the shooting which occurred hours ago at the Merkaz ha-Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Needless to say, the authenticity of this claim is highly suspect. It is extremely unlikely that the perpetrators of the attack, which has so far claimed the lives of eight, are Lebanese or directly affiliated with Hizbullah. However, they may have been Palestinians recruited by Hizbullah handlers or sympathizers. To be sure, retaliation for the assassination of Mughniya in Damascus was expected around this time.
The shooting at Merkaz ha-Rav is the worst terrorist attack that Jerusalem has seen for quite some time. The yeshiva is located in the west of the city, in Qiryat Moshe. It remains to be seen what route the terrorists took to reach the site, and where exactly they came from. I was surprised to hear that they may have infiltrated from East Jerusalem. But perhaps they took a more circuitous route.
At this point in time, it is still unclear how many attackers were involved, and what weapons they used. There are reports of one terrorist having fired an AK-47 for several "long minutes." One witness spoke of 500-600 rounds having been shot.
If the police and security forces release details of the origins of the attackers, we can be sure that there will be a major response by the IDF in Gaza or the West Bank. Tensions are already high after a roadside explosive device near the security fence around the Kisufim Crossing in Gaza destroyed an IDF jeep, killing one soldier (a Bedouin tracker). To me, that attack had all the marks of an attempted kidnapping.