JERUSALEM — A 13-year-old Palestinian gunman opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding two people, officials said, a day after another gunman killed seven outside a synagogue in the city’s deadliest attack since 2008.
A father and son, aged 47 and 23, were wounded in a shooting in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, medics said. Both were in the hospital fully conscious and in moderate condition, the doctors added.
When police arrived at the scene, the 13-year-old assailant was shot and killed by two bystanders with permitted weapons, police said. The police confiscated his gun and took the injured teenager to the hospital. The video showed police escorting the injured young man, dressed only in his underwear, from the scene on a stretcher with his hands handcuffed behind his back. Authorities cordoned off the street, ambulances and security forces swarmed the area, and helicopters circled overhead.
“He was waiting to ambush civilians on the holy Sabbath day,” Israeli police spokesman Dean Elsdon told The Associated Press, adding that the teenager opened fire on a group of five civilians. The surviving videos show that the victims were Jews wearing tzitum caps and tzitzit, or tied ritual tassels.
Elsdon described a “significant increase” in Palestinian militant activity in recent days. “The Israeli police will act accordingly,” he said.
Saturday’s events – ahead of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s arrival in the region – raised the possibility of more conflagration in one of the bloodiest months in Israel and the occupied West Bank in years. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, in a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in an outcome not recognized by the international community.
These attacks became the main test for the new far-right government of Israel. Its national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, presented himself as a guardian of law and order and grabbed headlines with his promises to take even tougher measures against the Palestinians.
Israel’s army said it deployed another battalion to the West Bank on Saturday, adding hundreds more troops to an already high-alert presence in the occupied territory.
In the Jenin refugee camp, the site of a deadly Israeli military raid on Thursday that prompted the latest escalation, footage showed Palestinians dancing and cheering to celebrate Saturday’s shooting. Palestinian detainees who celebrated in prison after Friday’s attack were placed in solitary confinement, the Israeli prison service said.
Prime Minister Benjamin said he would meet his security cabinet later, after Saturday, which ends at sunset, to discuss the further response to the attack outside the synagogue. Security forces began a crackdown in East Jerusalem, spreading to the neighborhood of a 21-year-old Palestinian gunman who was shot dead at the scene. Police arrested 42 members of his family and neighbors for questioning in At-Tur district.
Police chief Kobi Shabtai permanently moved a special forces unit into the city and reinforced the force, ordering police to work 12-hour shifts. He urged the public to call the hotline if they see anything suspicious.
The earlier attack on Friday came a day after an Israeli military airstrike killed nine Palestinians in the seething West Bank refugee camp of Jenin, prompting rocket fire from Gaza and retaliatory strikes by Israeli aircraft.
Although calm appeared to have settled after a limited exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, tensions were high in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Thursday’s raid, the deadliest West Bank incursion since 2002, followed a particularly bloody month in which at least 30 Palestinians — militants and civilians — were killed in confrontations with Israelis in the West Bank, according to an AP count.
At least 150 Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, as the Israeli military stepped up its arrest raids following a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians in Israel. It was the highest annual death toll in more than a decade and a half. Thirty people were killed in Palestinian attacks on Israelis last year.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youth who protested the invasions and other people who did not participate in the confrontations were also killed.
The Israeli military says its raids are aimed at eliminating militant networks and preventing attacks. But Palestinians say they are further entrenching Israel’s 55-year-long occupation of the West Bank, captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war. East Jerusalem is claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of a future independent state, and most of the world considers it illegally occupied. Israel claims its united sovereign capital.
The disputed capital, home to shrines for all three major monotheistic religions, has been at the center of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians for years.
Both Palestinian attackers who carried out the shootings on Friday and Saturday came from East Jerusalem. Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have permanent residency status, which allows them to work and move freely within Israel, but they are not allowed to vote in national elections. Residency can be revoked if a Palestinian lives outside the city for an extended period or in certain security cases.
Although their standard of living is generally better than in the West Bank and Gaza, the city’s Palestinian residents receive only a fraction of the same services as Jewish residents. They also complain about the demolition of houses and the near impossibility of obtaining Israeli building permits.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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