Two people were killed and six others were wounded in a drive-by shooting Sunday in Jerusalem. The attacker, identified as a 39-year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, was shot dead by police after a brief car chase.
The incident took place at the Ammunition Hill light rail stop — a region located near the Israeli police headquarters. According to Haaretz, a 60-year-old woman and a 30-year-old police officer were critically injured and later succumbed to their injuries.
“When the terrorist spotted the police he fired at them, and they managed to shoot and kill him,” an Israeli police spokeswoman reportedly said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the police for its “quick determined” actions.
Meanwhile, Hamas — the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip — released a statement praising the “heroic Jerusalem operation,” calling the attack “a natural reaction to the continued crimes of the occupation against Palestinians and the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Over the past year, 33 Israelis and two Americans have been killed by mostly lone-wolf Palestinian attackers armed with rudimentary weapons. In the same period, over 200 Palestinians — most of whom Israeli authorities say were involved in the attacks — have died during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
The conflict is fueled primarily by Palestinian anger over perceived increase in Jewish presence in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem, and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including in regions Palestine claims as part of its future independent state.
Although tensions between the two sides have simmered down in recent weeks, Israeli authorities fear that the restive region may witness a surge in attacks during the Jewish High Holy Days — Rosh Hashanah, which began Oct. 2 and ended Oct.4, and Yom Kippur, which begins Oct. 11 and ends Oct. 12.
The last attack in Jerusalem took place on Sept. 19, when an assailant — a resident of the East Jerusalem’s Ras al Amud region — stabbed and wounded two Israeli police officials.