US State Dept 'condemns terrorist attack in Jerusalem'
Courtesy of Israel Police Spokesperson
US State Department on Sunday has "condemned in every possible way the terrorist attack in Jerusalem" that claimed the lives of two and left six more injured after a gunman opened fire near the Ammunition Hill site.
Two of the victims were critically wounded in the attack and later succumbed to their wounds at the hospital, according to a statement from the Hadassah Medical Center.
Police identified one of the victims as 29-year-old Sergeant First Class Yosef Kirma, who was a member of the police special forces. He will be buried in the police section at Jerusalem's Mt Herzl cemetery at 17:00 Israel time (14:00 GMT), the Times of Israel reports.
Israeli media named the second victim as Lavana Malichi, 60.
A gag order has been placed on details of the investigation, including the name of the shooter.
The attack took place next to police headquarters close to the Ammunition Hill light rail stop, and the area has been closed off by police, National Police Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
According to an initial police investigation, a terrorist driving in a car came to a nearby junction, opened fire and hit passersby.
The suspect then fled the scene, driving in the direction of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood when a police motorcycle force chased after his vehicle.
When the terrorist saw the officers, he opened fire in their direction. The officers shot back at the suspect and killed him.
According to the Times of Israel, protesters are clashing with police outside the gunman's home in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported that the gunman told them on Saturday that he was planning to turn himself into Israeli police at 10 am Sunday (7:00 GMT) to begin serving a four-month sentence for assaulting a police officer in East Jerusalem in 2013.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan surveyed one of the scenes hit by the attack and noted the importance of increased police presence in the city to fight lone-wolf attacks.
“This was a difficult and serious terror attack that took place at multiple scenes,” he said in Jerusalem. “In every situation assessment discussion we held, there was no warnings about such a planned attack but we predicted that because of the increased incitement, there would be terror attacks carried out by lone-wolf terrorists. It is important to notice and understand that the police presence in Jerusalem will be increased by hundreds, if not thousands, of officers throughout the city.”
"It is important to note that in the past months, there has been a drop in violence and we will take all the necessary steps in order to ensure the safety during the holiday season,” he said.
At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had been updated on the events in Jerusalem, wished the wounded a rapid recovery and thanked security forces.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat commended the security forces who responded to the attack and vowed that such attacks will not disrupt daily life in the city.
"Once again we are witnessing the brutal terror and relentless targeting of innocent civilians trying to disrupt our lives and hurt us. I wish the injured a speedy recovery," he said.
"We will not surrender and we will continue to maintain our daily routines and the relentless war against terror and incitement," he continued, adding, "I commend the security forces for acting promptly to intercept and neutralize the terrorist and I will push to strengthen them in the holy work they do throughout the year, especially now during the holiday season."
Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh urged the public to “not to change their daily life."
“The public is strong, the public in Jerusalem is well versed and know how to return to normal, and I also hope the public trusts the police,” he said.
Gaza-based terror group Hamas praised the attack and said it was "a natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation."
While not going as far as directly taking responsibility, the group announced that the attacker was "one of ours."
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also praised that attack, calling it "heroic".
Further details were still emerging from incident, which comes at a time of increased Jewish visitors to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem for the Jewish high holiday season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The site is holy to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.
Last year's Jewish high holidays led to clashes and marked the start of an upsurge in Palestinian gun, knife and car-ramming attacks.
Violence since October 2015 has killed at least 231 Palestinians, 38 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese national.
Staff with agencies
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Bomb Gaza city to pay Hamas back. Bomb ramallah too . Abbas's hands are just as dirty as any other terrorist's
"BTW, Dick, this didn't occur "on the streets of Israel". It happened in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem is neither in Israel, nor Jordan nor the West Bank. It is Corpus Separatum." "WRONG AGAIN HEY MICKEY?"
Michael, again, do you even understand the concept of war? By your warped logic Iraqis have valid justification to murder British civilians...after all, didn't the British murder all those Iraqis in the last gulf war?
And no Michael, this happened on the streets of Jerusalem, Israel. The terrorist thug himself was from East Jerusalem
Hi Dick, of course it's a crime ... it's civilians being murdered ... as it was in Gaza when over 1400 innocents were murdered by the IDF. "Wouldn't it be great if jews were to retaliate and go into Hebron, ramallah etc and gun down some muslims in revenge attacks." I have no doubt that the IDF will. No doubt the Israeli government thinks that the continued occupation and settlement building is worth it and these deaths are just collatoral damage. That's how they describe Palestinian civilian deaths. "place some IED's in the arab markets, bus stations etc."? I'd think that Menachem Begin and Ishtak Shamir has risen from the grave, Dick.
BTW, Dick, this didn't occur "on the streets of Israel". It happened in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem is neither in Israel, nor Jordan nor the West Bank. It is Corpus Separatum.