Seven people were injured, two seriously, in a suspected terror shooting just outside Jerusalem’s Old City before dawn on Sunday, officials said.
Authorities say shots were fired at a bus on a road near the Western Wall, as well as at a nearby parking lot near King David’s Tomb, outside the Zion Gate of the old City.
Among those injured in the attack was a 35-year-old pregnant woman whose injury to her abdomen was described by doctors as “complex” and whose life was in danger, according to Hebrew media.
Also among the injured were four members of a Satmar Hasidic family who had traveled from the United States as tourists on Wednesday. Parents, son and daughter were waiting for a taxi at a bus stop when they were shot dead near King David’s tomb. The father of the family is said to be in serious condition, sedated and on a ventilator, while the mother was in moderate condition.
The alleged assailant waited for the bus to arrive and fired the shots as the passengers boarded, before fleeing.
“The bus was full, packed. I stopped at a bus stop at King David’s tomb, then I heard gunshots, people started screaming, people were injured inside the bus,” the driver of the bus said. bus, Daniel Kanievsky, to Hebrew media.
The driver said he had wanted to drive away but could not because passengers were helping a woman in a wheelchair onto the bus, the lowered ramp preventing the door from closing.
“I waited half an hour for the bus to arrive,” the Ynet news site quoted witness Avraham Deutsch as saying. “I heard three shots, jumped on the bus and went to bed with everyone. I immediately understood that it was a terrorist attack, then there were cries of terror. Everyone called the police. I saw two old people on the ground and two young people injured in the shoulder.
“It was a very difficult scene, the blood-soaked scene tzitzit and the abandoned stroller will remain in my memory for many years,” said Moshe Levy of the United Hatzalah emergency organization, referring to the ritual knotted bangs worn by observant Jews.
The Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service said its medics treated two seriously injured people, along with five others believed to be in mild and moderate conditions.
The victims were all taken to hospitals in Jerusalem, the MDA said. Shaare Zedek Medical Center said five people arrived after the incident, including two in serious condition, one in moderate condition and two with minor injuries. Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital said two people arrived with gunshot wounds and were being examined, and four people suffered from acute anxiety after the shooting.
Suspected shooting in the Old City of Jerusalem: 7 injured, two seriously, at two different sites. A hunt is on for the terroristhttps://t.co/RpoBZYSZUf@SuleimanMas1 @VeredPelman (Photo: Itamar Carmon) pic.twitter.com/S7JjWtJEPB
– here the news (@kann_news) August 13, 2022
The suspected attackers reportedly fled the scene towards the nearby East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, with police saying they were treating the incident as a suspected terror attack.
“A large number of police forces arrived at the scene and began to secure the area, investigating the matter and searching for the suspect who fled,” police said, adding that the Jerusalem District Commander , Doron Turgeman, had conducted an assessment of the situation at the scene.
Police cordoned off the area after the attack and briefly blocked worshipers from entering and leaving the Western Wall compound.
According to Palestinian media, agents entered Silwan to search the area for the suspected gunmen.
The Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, was quick to hail the attack, calling it “heroic” and saying it was “a natural response to the daily crimes of the occupation against our people, our country and the main Muslim and Christian sites”.
The incident came a week after a three-day series of intense fighting between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an Iran-backed terror group that is also based in Gaza and is considered more radical than Hamas. More than 1,000 rockets were fired at Israeli towns as the Israel Defense Forces carried out airstrikes targeting PIJ targets in the Strip. Gaza authorities say 49 Palestinians have been killed, many of whom Israel says were killed by failed PIJ rockets that landed inside Gaza.
Since March, 19 people – mostly Israeli civilians inside Israel – have been killed in attacks, mostly by Palestinians. Three Arab Israeli attackers were also killed.
AFP contributed to this report.