Gunmen killed three people and wounded several more in Jerusalem on Thursday, Israeli police said, in an attack shortly after extension of a truce in the Israel-Hamas war.
Police said both attackers were from annexed east Jerusalem and were shot dead at the scene, near a bus stop on the western side of Jerusalem, where there are no checkpoints guarding the city entrance.
“Two terrorists arrived in a car, one of them armed with an M-16 and the other with a pistol,” and opened fire, Jerusalem police chief Doron Torgeman told reporters at the scene.
The two gunmen were shot dead “after the attack by two off-duty IDF (Israeli army) soldiers and another civilian who fired at them”, police said in a statement.
“A police search of the terrorists’ car revealed ammunition and weaponry,” it added.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, at a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, called the attack an example of the “endless war that we are fighting against terror organisations, especially Hamas”.
Blinken similarly said the shooting is another reminder of the threat “Israelis face every single day.”
According to police, the attackers were two brothers in their 30s affiliated with the militant group who had been jailed by Israel in the past.
Footage circulating on social media and broadcast on Israeli television showed two men emerging from a white car and opening fire on people waiting for a bus, before security personnel and bystanders intervene and return fire.
The Magen David Adom emergency service said one of the fatalities was a 24-year-old woman.
In a statement posted to Telegram, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the off-duty soldiers’ and civilian’s swift action had “prevented an even more serious attack”.
“My government will continue to expand the distribution of weapons to citizens,” he added.
Two weeks ago an Israeli soldier died after being shot in an attack on a checkpoint at the entrance to a tunnel linking the Israeli-occupied West Bank with Jerusalem.
Another five Israeli security personnel were also wounded, with Israeli police shooting dead all three assailants.
That attack was claimed by the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.