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Palestinian gunman shot dead after killing 2, injuring several in Jerusalem attack

Oct. 9, 2016 10:34 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 9, 2016 8:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli police officer and an Israeli woman were shot dead and at least five others were injured in a drive-by shooting near the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Sunday morning. The gunman, a native of occupied East Jerusalem, was shot and killed by Israeli police at the scene.

The shooting attack came a day after the gunman told Ma'an that he intended to turn himself in to serve a prison sentence, after he was charged with assaulting an Israeli police officer in 2013.

According to a statement by Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, the gunman first opened fire across from the regional Israeli police headquarters while he sped towards the Ammunition Hill light rail station, critically injuring a 60-year-old woman, identified by Israeli media as Levanah Malichi, who later succumbed to her injuries after receiving treatment in a hospital. A man was also moderately injured at the same site.

The gunman then continued toward a junction on the other side of the police station, where he opened fire at a woman driving in her car, moderately to seriously injuring her, al-Samri added.

The assailant then fled toward Sheikh Jarrah as Israeli police special forces chased him, and he opened fire at them, critically injuring one policeman and lightly injuring another. The critically injured policeman, identified in Israeli media as First Sergeant Yosef Kirme, succumbed to his wounds in the hospital later in the day. Border police officers then arrived to the scene, shooting and killing the assailant.

Israeli media also reported that three other victims were moderately wounded, while a further three were lightly wounded by shrapnel or suffered from shock. According to Hebrew-language news site Walla, one of the injured was a 63-year-old Palestinian man from the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Two of the wounded were reportedly treated at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, including one moderately wounded and one lightly wounded by shrapnel.

Al-Samri said the slain gunman was a 39-year-old from the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied east Jerusalem.

She later announced that Israeli authorities issued a 30-day gag order for Israeli media on all further details of the shooting, including the name of the slain gunman and the names of the victims. In spite of the gag order, which doesn't affect Palestinian media, local sources in Jerusalem identified the shooter as 39-year-old Misbah Abu Sbeih from Silwan.

A day prior to the shooting, Abu Sbeih told Ma'an in an interview that he was planning on turning himself in to the Israeli Ramla prison at 10 a.m. on Sunday, to serve a prison sentence.
39-year-old Misbah Abu Sbeih from Silwan.
According to Israeli Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, Abu Sbeih held an Israeli identity card.

Erdan told reporters in Jerusalem after the incident that there had no been a specific terror warning issued for Jerusalem prior to the shooting, though Israeli police had already increased their presence across the city in preparation for the Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah last week and Yom Kippur, which begins on Tuesday.

Tensions around occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound were a main contributor to a wave of unrest that began last October, after right-wing Israelis made frequent visits to the site during the Jewish holiday season this time last year.

The 39-year-old gunman was the 232nd Palestinian to be killed by Israelis amid the violence, while 34 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians. The violence has mostly been characterized by small-scale attacks with knives or similar weapons.

However, a number of attempted and actual shooting attacks have targeted Israelis over the past year. A total of 17 Palestinians have been killed while committing shooting attacks, while 16 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian gunmen.

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