The militant group Hamas shot dead one Israeli and wounded four others Monday in a shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, officials said.
Police shot and killed the Palestinian assailant.
As the attack unfolded, frantic parents searched for their children. Passersby looked on from behind police barriers as police wearing camouflage patrolled the area and sent squad cars to the scene, where a body lay near a mosque.
“We’re overburdened by grief,” said Sara Tarwani, who was searching for her son Zaed, who had been walking with another friend in the busy, busy area around Damascus Gate, Israel’s official news agency, Ynet, quoted Tarwani as saying. She said her son was OK, though the friend had not made it.
“My son was searching for friends and going to a bar,” she told Ynet. “He was just walking there and suddenly someone came out with a gun and shot at them.”
Ynet reported that the suspected shooter was a 28-year-old from the West Bank town of Qalqilya, where there has been a surge in shootings against Israelis over the past year.
The Palestinian news agency Maan also reported the attack, saying a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into two cars and then blew himself up outside a police station in the city, killing a 14-year-old, the agency reported. Police had no immediate comment on the report.
As gunshots rang out, a group of people sang the Palestinian national anthem from outside the gates. A man in an Israeli-designed jumpsuit ran toward the gunfire, pursued by a gunman in the Old City. The Israeli shot the man in the legs, Maan reported. A security guard fired on the assailant.
A spokesman for the Israeli military said it sent troops to the scene to deter Palestinian attacks and establish a security zone. He said they found several gunmen at the scene.
The operation left three attackers dead after a shootout and a fourth with a gunshot wound to the chest who was hospitalized in serious condition, the army said.
The Palestinians say Hamas Islamists control the militants in the city. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a Monday morning Cabinet meeting that there was “no doubt” the militants in the Old City who carried out the attack belong to Hamas.
Speaking to reporters, Netanyahu called the shooting of the Israeli woman a “terrorist assault.”
Netanyahu said Israel would do everything to bring the family of the woman to safety.
The attack took place hours after a bomb was discovered in a home in a West Bank town that was demolished by Israeli troops over the weekend. The operation was one of a number of demolitions that Israeli authorities have carried out against suspected militants in West Bank.
Monday’s homicide occurred as tensions have been rising in Jerusalem over the plan by Jewish extremists to erect a large settlement in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, which is in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods Israel annexed after capturing it from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.
The United States has called the plan, which Israel has rejected, “disappointing.” The European Union has expressed concern that the new settlement will harden Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinians.
Both the United States and the European Union consider the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem illegal. There have been similar Jewish plans to set up settlement outposts in the West Bank, which had been removed from active construction to ease peace negotiations.