Car ramming kills two people in occupied East Jerusalem
Driver rams a car into a crowded bus stop in illegal Israeli settlement of Ramot before being shot and killed.
A Palestinian has rammed a car into a crowded bus stop in occupied East Jerusalem, killing two people, including a child, before being shot and killed, Israeli police and medics say.
The car ramming on Friday took place in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ramot, Tensions have soared in the eastern half of the city after a Palestinian carried out a shooting outside a synagogue on January 27, which killed seven people in the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in more than a decade.
The Israeli rescue service identified the two people killed on Friday as a six-year-old boy and a man in his 20s. It said medics were treating five injured, including an eight-year-old in critical condition after undergoing CPR. The others ranged in age from 10 to 40 and were in moderate to serious condition.
“It was a shocking scene,” said paramedic Lishai Shemesh, who happened to be driving by at the time of the attack. “I was in the car with my wife and children and noticed a car driving fast into the bus stop and crushing the people who were waiting there.”
Police said an off-duty detective shot and killed the suspect at the scene. There was no immediate word on his identity.
Footage showed police and paramedics swarming a mangled blue Mazda that had slammed into the bus stop. Bloody bodies lay strewn around the scene.
Suspect’s house to be demolished
The Palestinian groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, praised the attack but did not claim responsibility for it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the incident as a “terrorist” attack and ordered security forces to be reinforced.
The Israeli i24 news website reported that Netanyahu has decided to seal the suspect’s house and demolish it.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken strongly condemned the attack in advance of his visit to the region aimed at easing tensions.
“The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is repugnant and unconscionable,” Blinken said in a statement.
The Israeli settlement of Ramot was built in 1974 on lands confiscated from the Palestinian villages of Beit Iksa and Beit Hanina.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital while the Palestinian Authority seeks East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of its future state.
Hostilities have escalated in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since Israel stepped up raids and Palestinians increased “individual attacks” in Israel last year.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those territories since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
Last year, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
So far this year, 43 Palestinians have been killed, according to a count by The Associated Press – 10 of them in a gunfight last month during an army raid in Jenin in the West Bank.
Israel’s new far-right government, led by Netanyahu, had accused the previous government of inaction after a series of Palestinian attacks, raising questions about its stance towards the Palestinians at a time of heightened tension.