Palestinian teen wounds two people in east Jerusalem, day after another attack killed seven

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A Palestinian teenager opened fire in east Jerusalem on Saturday, wounding two people, officials said, a day after another assailant killed seven outside a synagogue in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008.

The shooting in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, wounded a father and son, ages 47 and 23, paramedics said. 

The medics added that both were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital.

As police rushed to the scene, two passers-by with licensed weapons shot and overpowered the 13-year-old attacker, police said. 

They confiscated his handgun and took the wounded teen to a hospital. Authorities taped off the street as emergency vehicles and security forces swarmed the area and helicopters whirled overhead.

“He waited to ambush civilians on the holy Sabbath day,” Israeli police spokesman Dean Elsdunne said, adding that the teenager opened fire on a group of five civilians. He described a “significant rise” in the level of Palestinian militant activity in recent days.

“The Israeli police are going to act accordingly,” he said.

Saturday’s events — on the eve of the US Secretary of State, Antony Blicken’s, arrival in the region — have raised the possibility of even greater conflagration in one of the bloodiest months in Israel and the occupied West Bank in several years. 

On Friday, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven people, including a 70-year-old woman, in a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move not internationally recognised.

The attacks pose a pivotal test for Israel’s new far-right government.

The Israeli army said it had deployed another battalion to the West Bank on Saturday, adding hundreds more troops to a presence already on heightened alert in the occupied territory.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would convene his Security Cabinet later Saturday, after the end of the Sabbath, to discuss a further response to the attack near the synagogue. 

Security forces launched a crackdown earlier in the day, fanning out into the neighbourhood of the 21-year-old Palestinian gunman, who was shot and killed at the scene. 

Police arrested 42 of his family members and neighbours for questioning in the At-Tur neighbourhood in east Jerusalem.