Boy (13) ‘shoots father and son’ in Jerusalem hours after seven killed in synagogue attack

Daniel Reast

The Independent  /  January 29, 2023

Gunman was shot and taken down by two passers-by.

A 13-year-old Palestinian boy opened fire in East Jerusalem and injured two people on Saturday, officials said, just hours after seven were killed outside a synagogue in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.

A father and son, aged 47 and 23, were injured in Saturday’s attack. Both are fully conscious in hospital, according to medics.

The shooting took place in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan, near the historic Old City.

The gunman was shot and overpowered by two passers-by with licensed weapons, before police rushed to the scene. Police confiscated the suspect’s handgun and took the father and son to hospital.

Authorities taped off the street, with emergency vehicles and security forces swarming the area as helicopters whirled overhead.

Israeli police spokesman Dean Elsdunne told reporters from Associated Press: “He waited to ambush civilians on the holy Sabbath day,” adding that the gunman opened fire on a group of five people.

Mr Elsdunne described a “significant rise” in the level of Palestinian militant activity in recent days, adding: “The Israeli police are going to act accordingly.

This latest attack comes hours after a 17-year-old Palestinian gunman killed seven people on Friday, including a 70-year-old woman, in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.

The shooting is the deadliest to occur in the city since 2008, with Israeli police describing it as a terror attack.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convening his security cabinet on Saturday night in response to the attack, according to an Israeli political official.

The official, speaking with Haaretz, said the prime minister was planning a “fast and powerful response” to the two shootings.

The attacks come as US secretary of state Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit the region for discussions on military, political and economic affairs, including Israeli-Palestinian relations and threats posed by Iran.

Early efforts at de-escalating tensions have already been taking place, after Israeli forces attacked a refugee camp in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, which killed nine people.

The raid is the deadliest single incursion in the West Bank since 2002, following a month of casualties which saw at least 30 Palestinians killed in confrontations with Israelis in the occupied West Bank, according to a tally by Associated Press.

US assistant secretary of state Barbara Leaf told reporters: “A number of us have been working the phones since early this morning to get an understanding of what’s developing and to urge de=escalation and coordination between Israeli and Palestinian security forces.”

Palestinian media reported the attack killed a number of terror suspects, including one civilian.

The Israeli army said it had deployed more forces to the occupied West Bank on Saturday, instructing local police forces to work 12-hour shifts in response to the attack.

Footage from the Israeli prison service is said to show Palestinians dancing and cheering in celebration of the shooting on Saturday.

Tensions arising from the attack on the Jenin refugee camp later prompted a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.

After a limited exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, the situation was calm amid high tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In response to Friday’s synagogue attack, British foreign secretary James Cleverly tweeted: “Appalling reports of a terror attack in Neve Yaakov this evening.

“To attack worshippers at a synagogue on Holocaust Memorial Day, and during Shabbat, is horrific. We stand with our Israeli friends.”