Shmuel Ben-Ruby, another Israeli police spokesman, said that a 13-year-old boy was among the casualties, who were lightly wounded.

He said police arrested the armed man at the scene.

The future status of predominantly Arab East Jerusalem has been a key issue in stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. 

 Planning for Peace

 

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Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared the whole city its capital after the 1967 Middle East war, a move not recognised by the international community.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and have accused Israel of trying to alter the social make-up of the area by destroying Palestinian homes and building Jewish settlements.

George Mitchell, the senior US envoy to the Middle East, was due to arrive in the region on Saturday for a fresh round of talks aimed at restarting the peace process.

Negotiations have been stalled since the Israeli military launched its 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip in December last year.

His visit comes ahead of reports of a possible meeting between Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Barack Obama, the US president, at the UN General Assembly later in September.