Two people were killed and five more were injured in a shooting attack near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem Sunday morning, police and emergency medical officials said.
Police described the incident, which saw an East Jerusalem gunman open fire at pedestrians and police over a several hundred meter swath of the capital, as a terror attack.
One woman, approximately 60 years old, was shot in the upper body and critically wounded in the attack, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
A police officer, approximately 30 years old, was also critically wounded in a shootout with the assailant, police said.
Both were later declared dead, after being rushed to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, a spokesperson said.
Three other victims, including a 68-year-old man, were moderately wounded, while another two were lightly injured in the attack, according to MDA.
The attacker was shot and killed. He was identified as a 39-year-old resident of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, police said.
He possessed an Israeli identification card, according to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“There were no prior warnings ahead of a focused attack like this,” Erdan said.
The attack began as the assailant drove by police headquarters on Haim Bar-Lev Street, a main artery also served by the city’s light rail, and opened fire at a group of people, hitting one woman, police said.
He sped off toward Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau Street and shot a woman who was in her car, critically wounding her.
He continued toward the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Police officers on motorcycles from the city’s Special Patrol Unit saw the shooting and gave chase, police said.
The assailant then opened fire at the officers, who shot and “neutralized him,” police said.
During the shootout, one officer was critically wounded, while a second was lightly to moderately injured, police said.
A video that was released on social media (below) appeared to show the shootout between police officers and the terrorist.
The second injured officer, 28, was taken to the capital’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, the hospital said.
One of the moderately wounded victims, a 50-year-old woman, was taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus. The three other victims were taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, according to MDA.
Two of the victims taken to Shaare Zedek were not injured by gunfire, but sustained light injuries when the terrorist’s vehicle collided with their car, MDA said.
Three people were also treated on the scene and later brought to the hospital after they suffered anxiety attacks, MDA said.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who had been on a tour of the West Bank at the time of the shooting, rushed back to the capital to visit the scene of the attack, as did Erdan and Israel Police Chief Roni Alsheich.
The Hamas terrorist organization praised the shooting, calling it “heroic”, “brave” and a “natural response to the occupation,” Army Radio reported.
At the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent well-wishes to the Israelis injured in the shooting attack.
The prime minister praised the security forces involved, who he said acted “very quickly and with determination” and “hunted down the terrorist and killed him.”
After the attack, police asked for and received a gag order on the details of the investigation of the shooting, a spokesperson said.
Hadassah opened a dedicated hotline for information about the victims. People in Israel can dial 1255121.
The attack broke a spell of calm in the capital that followed a months-long wave of violence last autumn and winter that included several attacks near Ammunition Hill.
Officials had feared a return to stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks with the onset of the fall holiday season, when religious tensions often spike.
October 2015 marked the start of several months of near-daily attacks during which at least 34 Israelis and over 200 Palestinians were killed in a spate of attacks. Most of the Palestinians killed were attackers or involved in clashes with troops.