A Palestinian man has been killed after he allegedly opened fire near an Israeli police station in occupied East Jerusalem, killing two and leaving at least six others wounded, according to police and witnesses.
The alleged drive-by attack occurred on Sunday at a light rail station near the Israeli police headquarters in Sheikh Jarrah, close to the line dividing mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem from the mostly Jewish western sector of the city.
Israeli police responded to the scene and, after a short pursuit, shot and killed the alleged attacker – a 39-year-old Palestinian man identified by his family as Musbah Abu Sbeih from the neighbourhood of Silwan in Jerusalem.
Two critically wounded victims, a 30-year-old police officer and a 60-year-old woman, later succumbed to their wounds, according to a spokesman at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.
A reporter at the scene told Al Jazeera that a man in a car opened fire near the police station, wounding two soldiers.
Sbeih was reportedly supposed to hand himself over to Israeli police at 10am local time on Sunday. The attack was carried out at 9:30am, according to people at the scene.
Witnesses counted at least 50 bullet holes in the alleged assailant’s car.
“I was with him at his house yesterday and he did not give the impression that he was going to carry out an attack,” a Jerusalem-based activist with the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, who asked to remain anonymous, told Al Jazeera.
“He was supposed to hand himself over today to the Israeli police over allegations that he tried to hit an Israeli officer in 2013.”
Sbeih was previously imprisoned for 11 months on charges of “incitement on Facebook” and released in December 2015, according to the activist.
“He [Sbeih] was being targeted by the Israeli soldiers and police and was arrested many times,” the activist said, adding that Sbeih was one of the most well-known activists protesting against Israeli incursions at al-Aqsa Mosque.
The al-Aqsa Mosque complex, known to Jews as Temple Mount, is the third holiest site in Islam. It is located in occupied East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.
Sbeih was the 232nd Palestinian to be killed by Israelis since a wave of unrest began last October, while 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians. The violence has mostly been characterised by small-scale attacks with knives.