JERUSALEM >> A Palestinian attacker in his early teens opened fire in east Jerusalem today, 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 neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, near the historic Old City, wounded a father and son, ages 47 and 23, paramedics said. Both were fully conscious and in moderate to serious condition in the hospital, the medics added.
Police said they shot and overpowered the 13-year-old attacker, wounding him. He was taken to a hospital, they said, and there was no further word on his condition. Video showed police escorting a wounded young man, wearing nothing but underwear, away from the scene and onto a stretcher.
Authorities taped off the street and emergency vehicles and security forces swarmed the area as helicopters whirled overhead.
Today’s events — just a day before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to arrive in the region —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 recognized.
The attacks pose pivotal test for Israel’s new far-right government. Its firebrand minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has presented himself as an enforcer of law and order and grabbed headlines for his promises to take even stronger action against the Palestinians.
The Israeli army said it had deployed another battalion to the West Bank today, adding hundreds more troops to a presence already on heightened alert in the occupied territory.
Prime Minister Benjamin said he would convene his Security Cabinet tonight, after the end of the sabbath, to discuss a further response to the attack near the synagogue. Security forces launched a crackdown early today, fanning out into the neighborhood of the 21-year-old Palestinian gunman, who was shot and killed at the scene. Police arrested 42 of his family members and neighbors for questioning in the At-Tur neighborhood in east Jerusalem.
Police Chief Kobi Shabtai moved a force analogous to a S.W.A.T. team in the city and beefed up forces, instructing police to work 12-hour shifts. He urged the public to call a hotline if they see anything suspicious.
The earlier Friday attack, which occurred as residents were observing the Jewish sabbath, came a day after an Israeli military raid killed nine Palestinians in the West Bank that prompted a rocket barrage from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
Although calm had appeared to take hold after the limited exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza militants, tensions were running high in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Thursday’s raid, deadliest single incursion in the West Bank since 2002, followed a particularly bloody month that saw at least 30 Palestinians — militants and civilians — killed in in confrontations with Israelis in the West Bank, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
Israel says most of the dead were militants. But youths protesting the incursions and others not involved in the confrontations also have been killed.
Israel says its raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart attacks. The Palestinians say they further entrench Israel’s 55-year, open-ended occupation of the West Bank, captured along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians demand east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, and much of the world considers it illegally occupied. Israel claims as its united, sovereign capital.
Home to archaeological ruins and shrines of all three major monotheistic religions, the contested capital been the centerpiece of spiking tensions between Israelis and Palestinians for years.
Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem hold permanent residency status, allowing them to work and move freely throughout Israel, but they are not allowed to vote in national elections. Residency rights can be stripped if a Palestinian is found to live outside the city for an extended period or in certain security cases.
Although their standard of living is generally better than in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem receive a fraction of the services that Jewish residents do. They complain of home demolitions and the near impossibility of obtaining Israeli building permits.