JERUSALEM (AP) — A suspected assailant rammed his car into several pedestrians in east Jerusalem on Friday, killing two people and injuring five others before being shot and killed, Israeli police said, the latest incident as violence rises in the contested capital.
The alleged car-ramming took place at a bus stop in Ramot, a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem. Tensions have soared in the Israeli-annexed eastern half of the city, following a Palestinian shooting attack on Jan. 27 that killed seven people in the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in over a decade.
The police did not identify those killed but the Israeli rescue service had previously said its medics were treating six people, including two children in critical condition undergoing CPR. It said two men, ages 27 and 30, were unconscious and in serious condition, while another two people were in moderate condition, including a 40-year-old man. Police said that an off-duty officer shot and killed the suspected attacker at the scene.
There was no immediate word on his identity.
The Islamic militant groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, praised the suspected attack but did not immediately claim responsibility.
Police identified the ages of the critically injured children as 5 and 6. Footage from the scene showed police and paramedics swarming a mangled blue Mazda that had slammed into a bus stop. Bloodied bodies lay strewn along the way.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as a capital of their future state.
Hostilities have escalated in east Jerusalem and the West Bank since Israel stepped up raids in the occupied territory last spring, following a series of deadly Palestinian attacks within Israel.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the 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.