US President George W. Bush telephoned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday night and expressed his condolences over Thursday's terror attack which left eight yeshiva students dead.
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack in Jerusalem that targeted innocent students at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva. This barbaric and vicious attack on innocent civilians deserves the condemnation of every nation," Bush said in a statement.
The US president added that he had spoken with the Israeli prime minister to extend his "deepest condolences to the victims, their families, and to the people of Israel.
"I told him the United States stands firmly with Israel in the face of this terrible attack," Bush said.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also condemned the terror attack. Rice called the shooting an ''act of terror and depravity.''
The secretary said she spoke with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to express the US condolences to the people of Israel and the families of the victims.
Jerusalem Shooting - Full Coverage:
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''The United States condemns tonight's act of terror and depravity,'' Rice said in a statement. ''This barbarous act has no place among civilized peoples and shocks the conscience of all peace loving nations. There is no cause that could ever justify this action.''
Livni also spoke with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana and her counterparts in Britain, Germany and Russia.
Ban issued a condemnation of the "savage attack" and decried the "deliberate killing and injuring of civilians." The Secretary-General said he was deeply concerned at the potential for continued acts of violence and terrorism to undermine the political process.
Israel: Attack will not deride talks
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also slammed the shooting on Thursday.
"President Mahmoud Abbas condemns the attack in Jerusalem that claimed the lives of many Israelis and he reiterated his condemnation of all attacks that target civilians, whether they are Palestinians or Israelis," said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat.
The 'Galilee Freedom Brigades' – an Israeli-Arab group - claimed responsibility for the shooting. The organization has assumed responsibility for several terror attacks in Israel in the past.
The gunman is believed to be a resident of east Jerusalem and likely possessed the blue ID card given to Israeli citizens or permanent residents.
Israel said it would continue negotiations with the Palestinian Authority despite the attack.
"These terrorists are trying to destroy the chances of peace but we certainly will continue the peace talks," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said.
"Tonight's massacre in Jerusalem is a defining moment. Those celebrating these murders have shown themselves to be the enemies not only of Israel , but the enemies of peace and reconciliation," said Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman.
"The murderous rampage against students marking a religious event exemplifies all too well the heinous extremism of the fundamentalist foundations Palestinian terrorism is built upon," Minister Livni said.
"Israel will never allow terrorism to achieve its goals. Despicable attacks such as this must strengthen the free world's understanding of the terrorist threat, in the face of which we must stand resolute and without compromise."
Livni said that Israel stands at the forefront of the war on terror and would continue to defend its citizens from the daily attacks they face. "Israel expects the nations of the world to support it in its battle against the murderers of students, women and children," said the minister.
AP, Reuters and Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to this report