According to the hospital, an Israeli was killed and three others injured in an attack in the old city of Jerusalem on Sunday. An alleged Palestinian attacker opened fire, according to police. The assassin was shot dead by security forces, according to a police spokesman. In addition to a rifle, it was said that he had a knife with him. The attack was strongly condemned by Austria’s top government.
According to paramedics, four men were injured in the incident near the Temple Mount, one of whom later died in hospital. A police spokesman described the shooter as a resident of East Jerusalem and said he was armed with a submachine gun. Israel’s Minister of Homeland Security, Omer Bar-Lev, announced on Sunday that the attacker was a member of the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas. Two of the people he shot were civilians, one of whom died, the spokesman said, and the other two wounded were police officers.
A spokesman for Hamas, ruling Gaza, welcomed the attack in Jerusalem. “This holy city will continue to fight until the foreign occupier is driven out, and will not submit to the hated reality of the occupation.”
The attack was condemned in Austria. The Foreign Ministry said it was “appalled by the cowardly terrorist attack in Jerusalem” on Twitter and reiterated its solidarity with Israel. The tweet was also spread by Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP). Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), who had only visited the old city of Jerusalem the previous week, condemned the attack “in the strongest possible way”. “It is also important to show that violence does not drive us out and is not a solution. We stand clearly and unequivocally on the side of Israel and its security,” said Nehammer in a statement to the APA.
The Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. But it is also holy to Jews because two Jewish temples used to stand there. Violent incidents occur again and again in the area of the strictly guarded facility.
The incident is the second attack in Jerusalem in four days. On Wednesday, a 16-year-old attacker wounded two Israeli border police officers with a knife. He was shot dead by the security forces.
Around 200,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem, where 300,000 Palestinians also live. Israeli settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is illegal under international law. It has continued under all Israeli governments since 1967. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state of their own. Israel claims the entire city as its eternal and indivisible capital.