A terrorist from an Arab neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem opened fire from a car at a light-rail stop on the city’s Ammunition Hill, killing a woman and wounding five others in the attack and ensuing firefight. The terrorist was later killed in the shootout nearby, but a security officer also died.
The attack occurred across the street from police headquarters, adding to concerns that terror attacks would intensify during the Jewish holidays. Thousands of extra security forces were on duty to protect the city between Rosh Hashanah and the Feast of Sukkot, which extends into late October.
“A woman in her 60s was wounded critically, and a man was moderately to seriously wounded,” Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The woman later died from her wounds at Hadassah Medical Center.
“After shooting the two civilians, the suspect continued driving his vehicle into the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood, where two officers from the Special Patrol Unit chased him. Shots were fired at our officers, who returned fire, and the terrorist was shot and killed at the scene,” Rosenfeld added. “Sadly, an officer from our Special Patrol Unit passed away.”
The victims were later identified as Jerusalem resident Levana Malihi, 60, and First Sgt. Yosef Kirma, 29.
Malihi, who is survived by three children and six grandchildren, retired in 2010 after working 30 years in the Knesset. She is remembered as “a very warm woman, loved by all, dedicated, caring and modest,” the Knesset said in a statement.
Officer Kirma died charging the terrorist. The police later issued a statement praising his fearless pursuit that prevented “further harm to innocent bystanders.” Married five months ago, Kirma is survived by his wife, parents and two brothers.
The attacker was identified as 39-year-old Abu Sabih Mussab of the Silwan neighborhood south of the Old City.
The Jerusalem Post reports that according to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the suspected killer had an Israeli identity card.
Erdan also added that incitement on social media, and Facebook in particular, have added to the danger of terror attacks.
In the Sunday cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while details are still being sorted out, “this was a shooting attack by a rotten terrorist.”
The terror group, Hamas, called the shooting “heroic” and “a natural response to Zionist occupation.” Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction called the shooter a “shahid” (martyr).
Islamic Jihad issued a statement calling the shooting “the appropriate response to the Zionist killing machine. The attacks will continue. The Jerusalem intifada [armed Palestinian uprising] is not over.”