JERUSALEM – Two people were killed and two others were wounded Saturday in a stabbing and shooting incident at Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli authorities said.
The Palestinian attacker, who was killed by police, had carried out a knife attack on a street in the Old City, then apparently managed to take a gun from one of the wounded victims and fired at a group of tourists and a police officer, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Police arrived at the scene and were fired at by the attacker. Police returned fire and fatally shot him, according to Samri.
The wounded were taken to various hospitals in Jerusalem, Samri said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed two victims died. Zaki Heler, an emergency services spokesman, said two were injured.
Police identified the attacker as Mohamed Shafik Halabi, 19, who lived near Ramallah.
Rosenfeld said extra patrol units were assigned to the Old City following the attack.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning the violence and called for “all perpetrators of violence to be swiftly brought to justice. We are very concerned about mounting tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, and call on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation.”
Tensions have been especially high in Jerusalem since September 13, when Arab youths and Israeli police clashed at the al-Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in the world for both Muslims and Jews, hours before the start of the Jewish New Year.
On September 23, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager at a military checkpoint at Hebron in the West Bank. The Israeli military said she attacked a soldier with a knife, an account disputed by Palestinian sources. – CNN