(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed solidarity with America after 26 churchgoers were killed and about 20 more were wounded when a gunman opened fire in a Texas church Sunday, in the deadliest massacre in the state’s history.
“Horrified by the savagery in Texas. Our hearts are with the victims, their families and the American people,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
The slain victims ranged in age from 5-72. The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley from San Antonio, was clad in a bulletproof vest and tactical military gear as he entered the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Following the attack, Kelley fled the scene and was found dead in his crashed vehicle after briefly being pursued by police.
“Terror that penetrates into a house of prayer is particularly evil and cruel, and seeks to undo decades of bridge building by and between people of faith,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. “Sadly, there are people who want to turn us back toward old circles of hatred.”
President Donald Trump ordered that flags at the White House and government buildings be flown at half-mast in the wake of the massacre.
“This horrible act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of sacred worship,” said Trump, who called for Americans to “join hands” and “stand strong.”