A Palestinian gunman opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding at least two people less than a day after another attacker killed seven outside a synagogue there in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.
The shooting near the historic Old City of Jerusalem wounded at least two men, aged 23 and 47, in their upper bodies, paramedics said. They were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital, the medics added. There was no immediate word on the condition of the attacker.
It marked the latest major escalation 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 outside an east Jerusalem synagogue, including a 70-year-old woman.
Israeli police had launched a security crackdown early on Saturday following the attack near the synagogue.
They fanned out into the gunman’s neighborhood of At-Tur in east Jerusalem and arrested 42 family members, neighbors and others close to him for questioning. Police Chief Kobi Shabtai beefed up security forces 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. Friday’s shooting set off celebrations in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where people fired guns into the air, honked horns and distributed sweets.
The burst of violence, which also included a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes, has posed an early challenge for Israel’s new government, which is dominated by ultranationalists who have pushed for a hard line against Palestinian violence. It also cast a cloud over a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region Sunday.
Addressing reporters at Israel’s national police headquarters, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had held a security assessment and decided on “immediate actions.” He said he would convene his Security Cabinet on Saturday night, after the end of the sabbath, to discuss a further response.
Netanyahu declined to elaborate but said Israel would act with “determination and composure.” He called on the public not to take the law into their own hands.