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14 Aug, 2022 09:34

Jerusalem shooting suspect detained – police

The alleged gunman who injured eight people near the Western Wall has turned himself in, the authorities say
Jerusalem shooting suspect detained – police

Israeli security forces have detained a suspected gunman who injured eight people near Jerusalem’s iconic Western Wall, the authorities said on Sunday. According to the police, the man turned himself in after a large-scale manhunt.

The police said they confiscated a gun presumably used in the attack, which took place near the Western Wall – a sacred pilgrimage site for Jewish people. The suspect was taken in for questioning, the agency added.

On Sunday morning, a shooting attack just outside of Jerusalem’s Old City that targeted a bus near King David’s Tomb injured at least eight people, with two heavily wounded and five slightly. One of the victims was a pregnant woman who was shot in the stomach and, according to local media, is now in serious condition. According to the Jerusalem Post, the baby was delivered in an emergency C-section and is now in serious but stable condition.

The police said the suspect was detained in an operation that involved helicopters and special forces.

The alleged gunman had reportedly waited for the bus to arrive and opened fire when the passengers were boarding. Afterwards, he apparently fled on foot to one of the nearby neighborhoods.

Daniel Kanievsky, the bus driver, told the Times of Israel that panic erupted in the vehicle, saying he wanted to drive away, but could not because passengers were helping a woman in a wheelchair to get on the bus, and the wheelchair ramp blocked the doors from closing.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid was briefed on the attack, his office said. “The security forces… are working to get the despicable terrorist and will not stop until he is caught. Let all those who wish us evil know that they will pay a price for any harming of civilians,” Lapid noted at the time, wishing a speedy recovery to all of the victims.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for militarist Palestinian organization Hamas – which Israel has designated as a terrorist group – described the incident as “heroic.” He said the attack was “a natural response to the Occupation’s and Zionist settlers’ daily crimes against our people, our country, major Muslim and Christian sites.”

The shooting comes several days after Israel announced a ceasefire between its forces and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), effectively putting an end to ‘Operation Breaking Dawn’, which saw both sides exchange airstrikes and rocket attacks.

The military operation began with an Israeli airstrike in Gaza that killed senior PIJ commander Taysir al-Jabari, while other attacks targeted multiple PIJ operatives. The move triggered retaliation from the PIJ, which launched multiple volleys of rockets at Israel.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 44 people were killed in Gaza during the operation – including 15 children – while 360 civilians were wounded.