8 injured in shooting in Jerusalem

By Vivek Shankar

JERUSALEM – Eight people were injured by gunfire in the Old City of Jerusalem early Sunday (14) in what emergency responders are considering a suspected terror attack. Two victims were in serious condition.

Tensions were already high in the region. Only a week ago Israel and Palestinian militants had reached a cease-fire to end three days of fighting in the Gaza Strip that left dozens of people dead, including children.

Sunday’s shooting in Jerusalem was carried out in an area where Israeli authorities have been viewed as giving more leeway to Jewish worshippers than to Muslim ones. They had recently been allowing more Jews to enter the Aqsa Mosque compound, previously restricted mostly to Muslims. Clashes broke out on multiple days at the site earlier this year.

The nearby Western Wall continues to be a site visited mostly by Jews, although it is also important to Muslims.

On Sunday, an ambulance service, Magen David Adom, said that it had received a report of a shooting involving a bus at 1:24 a.m. local time. First responders found two men with gunshot wounds on a bus that had stopped in the middle of a street near the Western Wall. They also found four more men with gunshot wounds at a parking area nearby. The seventh victim, a pregnant woman, was also treated for gunshot wounds.

All the victims were conscious and were sent to hospitals for further treatment. Six of them, including the woman, were taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre. Among the victims were four Americans, also according to local news media.

It was not immediately clear how many attackers were involved in the shooting. The person or persons fled in the direction of Silwan, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, according to local news media reports. Police were searching that area, local news media reported.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid of Israel was briefed on the situation and issued a statement on Twitter.

“Jerusalem is our capital city and a tourist centre for all religions, police forces and the IDF are working to restore peace and a sense of security in the city,” he said, referring to the Israel Defence Forces.

The fighting in Gaza started Aug. 5, when Israel launched airstrikes to foil what it said was an imminent attack from Gaza, and lasted for three days.

-New York Times


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