Two Palestinian gunmen killed by police in Jerusalem
Published 09/03/2016 | 10:01
Two Palestinian gunmen have carried out shootings in Jerusalem before police shot and killed them, shortly before US vice president Joe Biden met prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the city, authorities said.
A Palestinian man was seriously injured in the shootout on a main road alongside Jerusalem's light rail train tracks, close to the New Gate of Jerusalem's Old City.
The incident began when passengers on an Israeli bus spotted the two gunmen on the street and heard shots fired, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri. No injuries were reported, and a motorist responded by shooting at the suspects who fled by car.
When a policeman later approached a car that matched the description, the gunmen raised their weapons at the officer and he fired at them. Other police units at the scene shot at the suspects, killing them, Ms Samri said.
A Palestinian civilian at the scene was shot in the head and is in a serious but stable condition, an Israeli hospital said. Police are investigating whether he was shot by the gunmen or by officers.
Police identified the two gunmen as Palestinians aged about 20, from the Jerusalem area.
In the West Bank, a Palestinian with a knife attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint, and soldiers shot and killed him, the Israeli military said.
The two incidents follow a rash of Palestinian assaults on Tuesday, including a stabbing spree that killed an American student near where Mr Biden was meeting Israel's former president.
Mr Biden is in Israel for a two-day visit as part of a regional tour of the Middle East. He is meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders and there has been speculation he would try to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
A wave of near-daily Palestinian assaults on Israeli civilians and security forces erupted in mid-September and shows no sign of abating. The bloodshed - mainly stabbings but also shootings and car-ramming attacks - has killed 28 Israelis. During the same time, at least 179 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Most of the Palestinians have been identified by Israel as attackers, while the rest were killed in clashes with security forces.
Palestinians say the violence stems from frustration at nearly five decades of Israeli rule over the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel says the violence is fuelled by a campaign of Palestinian incitement compounded on social media sites that glorify and encourage attacks.