Several Israelis wounded in attack on Jerusalem bus

Israeli police arrest suspected gunman after a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Old City wounded at least eight people.

Israeli security personnel inspect a bus after an attack outside Jerusalem's Old City [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

Israeli police arrested a suspect in a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Old City that wounded at least eight people, two critically.

The attack took place in the early hours of Sunday as the bus carrying Israelis waited in a parking lot near the Western Wall, a holy prayer site for Jews.

The victims included a 35-year-old pregnant woman, according to The Times of Israel newspaper. It also reported another round of shooting in a parking lot in the area.

A suspect later turned himself into Israeli authorities, according to a statement by the police, which did not identify him.

“Today this operation confirms that the Palestinian people continue on the path of resistance and all the tools of struggle and resistance against this occupation are to protect our people, our land and our holy sites,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip.

Israeli police crime scene investigators at the scene of the attack near the Old City of Jerusalem [Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo]

Israeli forces had entered the nearby Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan in pursuit of the suspected attacker.

Speaking at a meeting of his cabinet on Sunday, Israeli Prime Mnister Yair Lapid said the suspected attacker was a resident of Jerusalem who was operating alone during the shooting and who had previously been arrested by Israel.

“All those who seek our harm should know that they will pay a price for any harm to our civilians,” Prime Minister Jair Lapid said following the attack.

The US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, tweeted there were American citizens among the wounded. An embassy spokesperson disclosed no other information or details.

Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said Israeli forces have been raiding houses in the area and carrying out arrests.

“Police have been raiding several homes in Silwan. A short while ago, there were reports that four people have been arrested, two of them women and they may be related to the suspect,” she said.

The attack in Jerusalem followed a tense week between Israel and Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Israeli security inspect a bus after an attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

Last week, Israeli fighter jets conducted raids on Gaza targeting the Palestinian armed group, Islamic Jihad, after arresting one of its leaders in the West Bank.

Forty-nine Palestinians, including 17 children and two Islamic Jihad commanders, were killed in the Israeli bombardment. Hundreds of Palestinians were also wounded.

Islamic Jihad responded by firing hundreds of rockets at Israel, but most of them were intercepted. No Israeli was killed or seriously injured.

The fighting ended with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and assurances from Cairo that it would work towards the release of two Islamic Jihad members being held by Israel.

The Hamas group, which governs Gaza, stayed on the sidelines.

Analysts say the ceasefire remains fragile.

“The atmosphere is one of tension and frustration,” said Yoni Ben-Menachem, a Middle East analyst based in West Jerusalem.

“The Palestinians are very frustrated by what happened in Gaza. For them, it was a defeat of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad because Israel carried out a successful operation, and while there is a ceasefire, tensions are very high because the Islamic Jihad is continuing to demand the release of its prisoners,” Ben-Menachem told Al Jazeera.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies