A Palestinian gunman opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding at least two people, less than a day after another attacker killed seven outside a synagogue in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.
The shooting in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, wounded at least two men, ages 23 and 47, in the upper body, paramedics said. They were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition at the hospital, the doctors added.
Police shot the attacker, but there was no immediate word on his condition. Authorities recorded the scene of the attack and emergency vehicles and security forces invaded the area as helicopters hovered overhead.
The events on Saturday raised the possibility of an even bigger conflagration in one of the bloodiest months in Israel and the occupied West Bank in several years. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people in a Jewish settlement with a large ultra-Orthodox population in east Jerusalem, including a 70-year-old woman.
The events represent a pivotal test for Israel’s new far-right government. His national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has portrayed himself as an enforcer of law and order and grabbed headlines for his promises to crack down on the Palestinians even more.
Israeli police had launched a security campaign early Saturday after the attack near the synagogue.
Security forces fanned out to the At-Tur attacker’s neighborhood in east Jerusalem and arrested 42 family members, neighbors and others close to him for questioning. Police chief Kobi Shabtai has beefed up security forces and instructed police to work 12-hour shifts, the statements said, urging the public to call a hotline if they see anything suspicious.
The attack the previous Friday, which occurred as residents were observing the Jewish Sabbath, came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine Palestinians in the West Bank. Friday’s shooting sparked celebrations in both the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where people fired weapons into the air, honked their horns and distributed sweets.
The outbreak of violence also included a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, and also cast a shadow over US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to the region on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had carried out a security assessment and decided on “immediate action”. He said he would convene his Security Cabinet on Saturday night, after the end of Saturday, to discuss a further response.