Canadian among wounded in Jerusalem seminary attack

A Canadian citizen is among the nine people wounded in a Palestinian gunman's attack at a rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem on Thursday that killed eight students, CBC News has learned.

Teenage student's family is from Toronto

A 14-year-old Canadian citizen is among the nine people wounded in a Palestinian gunman's attack at a rabbinical seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight other students, CBC News has learned.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths are reflected in a bullet-riddled glass door before the funeral Friday of eight yeshiva students killed in an at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. ((Kevin Frayer/Associated Press))

Nadav Eliayahu Samuels was shot several times in Thursday's attack on the Mercaz Harav yeshiva, the CBC's Peter Armstrong reported Friday from Jerusalem.

Samuels — who holds Israeli, Canadian and British citizenship — is listed in critical but stable condition with multiple gunshot wounds and is heavily medicated, Armstrong said.

He is to undergo a second round of surgery on Saturday, but is expected to make a full recovery, his father Noah Samuels told CBC News on Friday.

Family members have been taking turns watching over the boy at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem medical centre, his father said. He turns 15 next week.

The family is from Toronto, but moved to Israel in 1983 and resides in Jerusalem. They return to Canada every summer, the father said.

Alan Baker, Israel's ambassador to Canada, said he was not only "shocked and saddened" by the attack, but also "deeply distraught" over learning a Canadian was among the most injured.

"My wishes are with the families and friends whose loved ones have been victimized by this terrible tragedy," Baker said Friday in a statement. "This development demonstrates that everyone is a potential victim of terror."

Students jumped out windows

The attack began late Thursday evening when the gunman entered the seminary's main gate and went into the library, where witnesses said 80 students were gathered for a crowded nighttime study session. The attacker opened fire with an assault rifle and a pistol, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

As the gunman fired, students scrambled to flee, jumping out of windows. Rosenfeld said at least six empty bullet clips were found on the floor.

Samuels' father said the boy was in the library at the time of the attack and hid under something.

He said the boy was shot in the feet and legs, while the hospital said he suffered gunshot wounds all over his body, including the stomach.

The gunman was later shot and killed by an army officer on the scene.

Israeli officials said the victims, who were laid to rest Friday, were aged 15 to 19 except one, who was 26. One of the victims was identified as 16-year-old Avraham David Moses, an American citizen whose parents moved to Israel in the 1990s.

Hamas backtracks from responsibility claim

It was the city's first attack in more than four years, and the deadliest in Israel since a suicide bomber killed 11 people in Tel Aviv on April 17, 2006.

Authorities described the scene in the aftermath of the attack as a "slaughterhouse," with holy books scattered around the library's blood-soaked floor.

The seminary is in the Kiryat Moshe quarter of the city, a well-known centre of Jewish studies identified with the leadership of the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank.

The gunman was identified as 25-year-old Alaa Abu Dheim, who had been arrested by Israeli authorities four months ago but released after two months, according to news reports.

Israeli defence officials said he came from Jabel Mukaber in East Jerusalem, where Palestinian residents hold ID cards giving them freedom of movement in Israel, unlike Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Islamic group Hamas earlier took responsibility for the attack but then backtracked.

Abu Dheim's family, who set up a mourning tent and hung green Hamas flags outside their home, told the Associated Press he was intensely religious, but did not belong to a militant group.

With files from the Associated Press