U.S. citizens among 8 injured in attack in Jerusalem’s Old City

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JERUSALEM — Eight people were injured, including US citizens, in a suspected Palestinian gun attack on a bus near Jerusalem’s Western Wall in the Old City early Sunday, Israeli police and medics said.

The alleged shooter turned on himself and his gun hours after fleeing the scene and sparking a massive manhuntaccording to Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai.

Tom Nides, the US ambassador to Israel, said he was “deeply saddened to confirm that Americans were injured in this attack”.

“I have spoken with the families and will keep them in my prayers,” he said. in a statement on Twitter.

Both Nides and the US Bureau of Palestinian Affairs said in statements Sunday morning that they strongly condemned what they described as a “terrorist attack”.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Jerusalem declined to provide further details about the victims, citing confidentiality concerns. They spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with embassy protocol.

The shooting comes less than a week after Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip reached a tentative truce to end days of fighting that killed at least 47 Palestinians in the blockaded enclave, and amid an ongoing Israeli crackdown in the occupied West Bank after violence flared up there this spring.

Israel applauds its victories, Gaza mourns its dead as ceasefire holds

On Wednesday, Israeli security forces using shoulder-launched missiles killed three suspected Palestinian militants in the crowded West Bank city of Nablus.

Sunday’s attack in Jerusalem occurred around 1:30 a.m. local time at two locations near the entrance to the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

A gunman opened fire on a bus and vehicles near a parking lot, then ran into the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, according to Israeli police.

Israel’s Emergency Medical Service said it treated people with gunshot wounds at the scene and seven people were hospitalized.

Two of the injured were in critical condition, including a pregnant woman who was shot in the abdomen and underwent emergency labor, Israeli media reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned the attack on Sunday and warned that “all who seek our harm must know that they will pay a price for any harm done to our civilians.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) said she was working with the State Department amid reports that state residents were among the injured.

“I am horrified by the terrorist attack in Jerusalem and by the news that a family of New Yorkers have been affected,” she tweeted.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the attack, and Israeli police did not immediately release further details about the suspected shooter.

A spokesman for Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, hailed the “heroic operation” against “the arrogance of occupation soldiers and extremist settlers”.

US-backed peace plans since the 1990s have called for a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel claims Jerusalem as its undivided capital, which most of the international community rejects.

The country is gearing up for another round of elections, its fifth in less than four years, in which security, along with economic issues, are usually the main concerns of voters.

Violence in Israel had subsided somewhat since the spring, when at least 19 people in several towns were killed in a series of Palestinian attacks with guns, knives and a vehicle. Since then, Israeli forces have carried out near-night raids on West Bank communities and killed dozens of Palestinians.

Among the dead this spring was Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Al Jazeera reporter who was killed in May while covering clashes in the Palestinian city of Jenin. The Washington Post and other major media concluded that Israeli forces likely fired the shot that killed Abu Akleh, who was far from any fighting.

Israel said its own investigation found the source of the bullet was inconclusive, but that its soldiers did not fire deliberately. A US investigation released in June said the shots likely came from Israeli forces but concluded they were likely unintentional, angering Abu Akleh’s family.

Steve Hendrix contributed to this report.

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