JERUSALEM: A member of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement opened fire on Sunday in Jerusalem’s Old City, killing one person and wounding three before he was shot dead, Israeli officials, police and medics said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered security to be boosted and called for people to be on “heightened alert” over the risk of further attacks.
The four wounded, two police officers and two civilians, were rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, where one of the civilian victims died.
“This morning there was a serious shooting attack in the Old City of Jerusalem,” Bennett said in a statement. “At the moment we have one dead and three wounded.
“Two policewomen and one policeman quickly neutralised the terrorist.”
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation identified the victim as Eliyahu Kay, an immigrant from South Africa, who was employed by them as a guide at the Western Wall plaza.
The immigration ministry said he was 25 and had come to Israel in 2019. His funeral was set to take place on Monday morning in Jerusalem.
Police said the attacker had fired a “Carlo-type weapon”, a type of submachine gun.
After the shooting, dozens of police officers were deployed to the narrow streets of the historic walled city, as workers hosed pools of blood from the cobblestones, said a reporter.
The Old City is in the Israeli-annexed eastern part of Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move not recognised by most of the international community.
Rightwing lawmakers from opposition parties organised a march on Sunday through the site of the attack.
Israel’s Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said the attacker was a Palestinian living in the Shuafat neighbourhood in east Jerusalem.
“He was a member of Hamas, the political branch, not the armed wing,” Bar-Lev told Israel’s Kan television channel, saying the man’s wife had travelled abroad three days ago, while his son was also out of the country.
“It seems that this attack is premeditated,” Bar-Lev said. Police identified him as a 42-year-old east Jerusalem resident.