JERUSALEM: A Palestinian gunman opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding two people, Israeli medics said, less than a day after another assailant killed seven outside a synagogue in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.
The shooting in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, wounded a father and son, ages 47 and 23, paramedics said. Both were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital, the medics added.
Police said they shot the attacker, wounding him. He was evacuated to a hospital, they said, and there was no further word on his condition.
Authorities taped off the scene of the attack and emergency vehicles and security forces swarmed the area as helicopters whirled overhead.
Saturday’s events — just a day before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to arrive in the region —raised the possibility of even greater conflagration in one of the bloodiest months in Israel and the occupied West Bank in several years. On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, in a Jewish settlement with a large ultra-Orthodox population in east Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move not internationally recognized.
The attacks pose pivotal test for Israel’s new far-right government. Its firebrand minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has presented himself as an enforcer of law and order and grabbed headlines for his promises to take even stronger action against the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin said he would convene his Security Cabinet on Saturday night, after the end of the sabbath, to discuss a further response to the attack near the synagogue. Israeli police launched a security crackdown early on Saturday.
Security forces fanned out into the neighborhood of the 21-year-old Palestinian gunman, arresting 42 of his family members and neighbors for questioning in the At-Tur neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Police Chief Kobi Shabtai beefed up forces across the city and instructed police to work 12-hour shifts, the statements said, urging the public to call a hotline if they see anything suspicious.
The earlier Friday attack, which occurred as residents were observing the Jewish sabbath, came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine Palestinians in the West Bank that prompted a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
Although calm had appeared to take hold after the limited exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, tensions were running high in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Thursday’s raid, deadliest single incursion in the occupied territory since 2002, followed a particularly bloody month that saw at least 30 Palestinians — militants and civilians — killed in in confrontations with Israelis in the West Bank, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed.
Israel says its raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks. The Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank, captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war.
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