Israeli police said Sunday they had arrested a suspect in a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Old City that wounded eight people, two critically and including a pregnant woman.
“The terrorist is in our hands,” police spokesman Kan Eli Levy told public radio hours after the attack that took place not far from the Western Wall, the holiest prayer site for Jews
.A gunman started spraying bullets at the public transport bus and people outside the vehicle in the pre-dawn attack at the Tomb of David bus stop, recounted bus driver Daniel Kanievsky.
“I was coming from the Western Wall. The bus was full of passengers,” he later told reporters in front of his bullet-riddled vehicle.
“I stopped at the station of the Tomb of David. At this moment, the shooting started. Two people outside I saw falling, two inside were bleeding. Everybody panicked.”
Israel’s emergency medical services, the Magen David Adom (MDA), called the incident a “terror attack in the Old City.”
“We were on the scene very quickly,” its medics said in a statement.
“On Ma’ale Hashalom Street we saw a passenger bus … in the middle of the road. Bystanders called us to treat two males around 30 years old who were on the bus with gunshot wounds.”
MDA spokesperson Zaki Heller initially said six men and one woman were wounded, with all seven “fully conscious”, before police raised the wounded toll to eight.
One of the wounded was a pregnant woman, whose baby was delivered after the attack, a Shaarei Tsedek Hospital spokesman told AFP.
“She remains intubated and in serious condition,” he said. “The infant was delivered and is in serious but stable condition.”
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said after the attack that police, the army and other security services “are working to apprehend the terrorist and will not cease until he is caught.”
“All those who seek our harm should know that they will pay a price for any harm to our civilians,” Lapid added in the statement.
“The police and the IDF are working to restore calm and a sense of security in the city,” he said, referring to the Israeli Defense Forces.
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, hailed a “heroic operation” without claiming responsibility for the attack.
“Our people will continue to resist and fight the occupier by all means,” it said in a statement.
The shooting came a week after the end of a three-day conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in the densely populated Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
At least 49 Palestinians, including Islamic Jihad fighters and a number of children, died in the violence which ended last Sunday after Egypt negotiated a truce.
Since March, 19 people – mostly Israeli civilians inside Israel – have been killed in attacks, mostly by Palestinians. Three Israeli Arab attackers were also killed.
In the aftermath of those attacks, Israeli security forces stepped up raids in the occupied West Bank.
More than 50 Palestinians have been killed, including fighters and civilians, in operations and incidents in the West Bank since then.