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Eight people were killed and nine others were wounded Thursday evening when a terrorist entered a crowded library at a Jerusalem yeshiva and opened fire. The head of the Zaka emergency service described the scene after the shooting as "like a slaughterhouse."

Three of the wounded in the attack at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood were serious condition, and taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem. The other six were lightly hurt and taken to Sha'arei Tzedek Medical Center. One of the wounded is 15 years old. Magen David Adom emergency medical service declared the incident a "multiple casualty event."

Jerusalem District police chief Aharon Franco said the terrorist entered the religious school, pulled out an automatic weapon and began firing in every direction.

The gunman was shot twice by a student at the yeshiva who crawled out onto an adjacent roof, before being killed by an Israel Defense Forces soldier.

Witnesses described a terrifying scene during the shooting, with students jumping out the windows of the building to escape.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar led a prayer session at the yeshiva after the shooting. Students huddled together, and many were sobbing uncontrollably.

Security officials said the terrorist was a resident of East Jerusalem.

An organization calling itself "Galilee Freedom Battalions - the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh" took responsiblity for the attack, according to Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station. The veracity of the claim was not clear.

Hezbollah had vowed to avenge last month's assassination of its terror chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus. The organization blamed Israel for his death, but Israel denied any role in the killing.

A large number of security and emergency medical personnel rushed to the scene of the shooting. Some 50 ambulances were also summoned.

Police and Israel Defense Forces troops searched the complex and the surrounding area for nearly two hours in order to determine whether a second or possibly third terrorist was still holed up inside the yeshiva or had fled.

The evacuation of the dead and wounded was delayed due to the searches.

The attack drew international condemnation, including from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel said that the attack would not derail peace talks.