Terrorist gunmen killed three people and wounded eight more in Jerusalem on Thursday, Israeli police said, just minutes after a six-day truce between Israel and Hamas was extended to a seventh day, and just hours after an American hostage was freed.
Both attackers were shot dead at the scene, near a bus stop on the western side of Jerusalem, where there are no checkpoints guarding the city entrance.
“Two terrorists arrived in a car, one of them armed with an M-16 and the other with a pistol,” and opened fire during the morning rush hour, Jerusalem police chief Doron Torgeman told reporters at the scene, AFP reports.
The two gunmen were shot dead “after the attack by two off-duty IDF soldiers and another civilian who fired at them,” police said in a statement.
A security search of the vehicle found large amounts of ammunition.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, at a meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, called the attack an example of the “endless war that we are fighting against terror organisations, especially Hamas.”
Blinken similarly said the shooting is another reminder of the threat “Israelis face every single day.”
According to police, the attackers were two brothers in their 30s affiliated with the Hamas terrorist group who had been jailed by Israel in the past:
Surveillance camera footage shows the shooting attack at the entrance to Jerusalem this morning. Two people were killed, and at least seven others were hurt. Two off-duty soldiers and an armed civilian shot the terrorists dead. pic.twitter.com/CwucVb5IV7
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 30, 2023
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics declared the death of a 24-year-old woman at the scene and was taking eight others to hospitals in Jerusalem.
An elderly man and a woman, who were critically wounded, were later declared dead at a hospital in Jerusalem.
In a statement posted to Telegram, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the off-duty soldiers’ and civilian’s swift action had “prevented an even more serious attack.”
“My government will continue to expand the distribution of weapons to citizens,” he added.
Two weeks ago an Israeli soldier died after being shot in an attack on a checkpoint at the entrance to a tunnel linking the West Bank with Jerusalem.
Another five Israeli security personnel were also wounded, with Israeli police shooting dead all three assailants.
That attack was claimed by the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.