At least six people were shot and injured in a drive-by shooting near the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Sunday morning. The gunman was shot and killed by Israeli police at the scene, while two of the injured later succumbed to their wounds.
The shooting attack comes a day after the gunman told Ma'an that he intended to turn himself in to serve a prison sentence, after he was charged with assaulting an Israeli police officer in 2013.
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in an initial statement that shots were fired near the Israeli police headquarters in Jerusalem, and that Israeli police responded to the scene and shot the assailant after a brief pursuit.
The area, which is also known as Ammunition Hill and is near a light rail station, was closed off by Israeli police.
Israeli emergency medical services Magen David Adom said that a 60-year-old woman was critically wounded, another woman critically wounded, and four were moderately wounded. The 60-year-old woman later succumbed to her wounds.
According to a statement from Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, the gunman opened fire across from the regional Israeli police headquarters while he sped towards a light rail station, critically injuring a woman. Another was moderately injured in the initial shooting, according to Israeli media.
The gunman then continued toward a junction on the other side of the police station where he opened fire at a woman driving in her car, injuring her seriously, al-Samri added.
He then fled toward Sheikh Jarrah as Israeli police special forces chased him, and he opened fire at them, critically injuring one policeman and lightly injuring another. The critically injured policeman later succumbed to his wounds. Border police officers arrived to the scene, shooting and killing the assailant.
Four of the wounded were reportedly being treated at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Mt. Scopus, including two who were critically wounded, one moderately wounded, and one lightly wounded by shrapnel. One of the victims was taken to Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that five others were wounded by "shrapnel and shock," who were also evacuated from the scene.
Al-Samri said the slain gunman was a 39-year-old from the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied east Jerusalem.
She later announced that Israeli authorities issued a 30-day gag order for Israeli media on all further details of the shooting, including the name of the slain gunman and the names of the victims. In spite of the gag order, which doesn't affect Palestinian media, local sources in Jerusalem identified the shooter as 39-year-old Misbah Abu Sbeih from Silwan.
A day prior to the shooting, Abu Sbeih told Ma'an in an interview that he was planning on turning himself in to the Israeli Ramla prison at 10 a.m. on Sunday, to serve a prison sentence.
According to Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, Abu Sbeih held an Israeli identity card.
Erdan told reporters in Jerusalem after the incident that there had no been a specific terror warning issued for Jerusalem prior to the shooting, though Israeli police had already increased their presence across the city in preparation for the Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah last week and upcoming Yom Kippur, which begins on Tuesday.
Tensions around occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound were a main contributor to a wave of unrest that began last October, after right-wing Israelis made frequent visits to the site during the Jewish holiday season this time last year.
The 39-year-old gunman was the 232nd Palestinian to be killed by Israelis amid the violence, while 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians. The violence has mostly been characterized by small-scale attacks with knives or similar weapons.
However, a number of attempted and actual shooting attacks have targeted Israelis over the past year. A total of 11 Palestinians have been killed while committing shooting attacks, while 14 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian gunmen.
All Rights Reserved © Ma'an News Agency 2005 - 2019