Five Americans, including a family from Brooklyn, were among the eight victims wounded when a gunman opened fire at a bus full of Jewish worshippers on their way home from Jerusalem’s Western Wall at the end of Sabbath this morning.
The shooting happened as the bus waited in a parking lot near David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, just outside the Old City walls.
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, tweeted that there were American citizens among the wounded, adding that he has spoken with the families and continuing to monitor the situation,’
Several of the American victims are believed to be from the same Williamsburg, Brooklyn family who had arrived in Israel on Wednesday, according to Yeshiva World News.
Two of the victims in the attack were in serious condition, including a pregnant woman with abdominal injuries and a man with gunshot wounds to the head and neck, according to Israeli hospitals treating them.
Israeli media identified the suspected attacker as a 26-year-old Palestinian from east Jerusalem who initially fled the scene, but has since turned himself in, Israeli police confirmed.
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.
The attack against the bus occurred near King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City
An Israeli security official stands behind a shattered window as he probes the attack scene
Bus driver Daniel Kanievsky said the unidentified assailant opened fire on the packed vehicle as he stopped by David’s Tomb near the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.
He told journalists outside the bullet-riddled bus: ‘I stopped at the station of the Tomb of David. At this moment, the shooting started.
‘Two people outside I see falling, two inside were bleeding. Everybody panicked.’
Israeli police in the capital’s Old City said the shooter, from East Jerusalem, handed himself over to cops.
Terror group Hamas praised the attack as ‘a natural response to the occupation’ of Gaza by Israel, but did not claim responsibility for the violence.
‘Jerusalem is our capital city and a tourist center for all religions,’ Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement, adding that Israeli security forces would ‘restore calm.’
‘There is one conclusion from this event, as from previous events: whoever harms the citizens of Israel will have nowhere to run.
‘We will hunt them down and get them everywhere and we will deal with them with the full severity of the law.’
Israel’s emergency medical services, the Magen David Adom (MDA), called the incident a ‘terror attack in the Old City’.
Investigators collect evidence at the bus shortly after the shooting, which saw eight wounded
A worshipper puts his finger on a bullet hole in the bus window in the early hours today
MDA spokesperson Zaki Heller said six men and one woman were injured in the attack, with all eight ‘fully conscious’.
Paramedics said they provided lifesaving treatment to people with gunshot wounds, including both on the bus and in the King David’s Tomb parking area.
All victims were taken to nearby hospitals.
‘We were on scene very quickly,’ senior EMT Nehemia Katz and paramedic David Trachtenberg said in a statement.
‘On Ma’ale Hashalom St. we saw a passenger bus standing in the middle of the road, bystanders called us to treat two males around 30 years old who were on the bus with gunshot wounds.’
US ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, responded to Sunday’s shooting, confirming that Americans were injured in the attack.
‘Deeply saddened to confirm that Americans were injured in this attack,’ he posted to Twitter. ‘I’ve spoken with the families and will keep them in my prayers.’
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was ‘horrified’ by the shooting.
‘I’m horrified by the terror attack in Jerusalem, and by the news that a family of New Yorkers has been impacted,’ she tweeted.
‘My team is making contact with @StateDept to assist however possible. We condemn terror and stand with the Israeli people as they seek peace.’
Ultra Orthodox Jews look on at the street in East Jerusalem’s Old City, where the bus was hit
Paramedics on motorbikes respond to the shooting that saw several Israeli worshippers hurt
Members of the city’s ZAKA Search and Rescue team are pictured cleaning blood off street
Worshippers are pictured praying at the Western Wall late into the night last weekend
It comes a week after a three-day conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza saw at least 49 Palestinians killed, including a five-year-old girl.
Last weekend, Israeli jets pounded the narrow coastal strip in what the military said was a pre-emptive attack aimed at preventing an imminent threat to Israel.
Since March, 19 people – mostly Israeli civilians inside Israel – have been killed in attacks, mostly by Palestinians. Three Israeli Arab attackers were also killed.
In the aftermath, Israeli authorities increased raids in the occupied West Bank, killing more than 50 militants and civilians.