Palestine: Israel bombs Gaza Strip
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A Palestinian plowed a car into a crowded bus stop in east Jerusalem on Friday, killing two people, including a six-year-old, and injuring five others before being shot and killed, Israeli police and medics said, the latest escalation as violence grips the contested capital. The car-ramming took place in Ramot, a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem. Tensions have soared in the Israeli-annexed eastern half of the city, following a Palestinian shooting attack outside a synagogue on January 27 that killed seven people in the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in over a decade.
The car-ramming took place in Ramot, a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem. Tensions have soared in the Israeli-annexed eastern half of the city, following a Palestinian shooting attack outside a synagogue on January 27 that killed seven people in the deadliest attack in Jerusalem in over a decade.
The Israeli rescue service identified the two killed as a six-year-old boy and a man in his 20s. It said medics were treating five injured, including an eight-year-old child in critical condition undergoing CPR. Others, ages ranging from 10 to 40, were in moderate to serious condition. They had been waiting at the bus stop before the car came crashing to a stop, police said.
“It was a shocking scene,” said paramedic Lishai Shemesh who happened to be driving by at the time of the attack. “I was in the car with my wife and children and noticed a car driving fast into the bus stop and crushing the people who were waiting there.”
An off-duty detective shot and killed the suspected attacker at the scene, police added, describing him as a Palestinian in his 30s from east Jerusalem. Palestinian media identified him as 32-year-old Hussein Qaraqa.
Speaking from the scene of the suspected attack, Israel’s hard-line national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, ordered police to set up checkpoints around the driver’s neighbourhood of Issawiya to “check every vehicle.”
He added: “I wanted to to create a full blockade (on the area), but there is a judicial question around it.”
Israel’s largely ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, expressed shock and offered condolences to the families of the victims. He said: “Our hearts are pained by the terrible news.”
The Islamic militant groups Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, praised the rampage but did not immediately claim responsibility. Footage from the scene showed police and paramedics swarming a mangled blue Mazda that had slammed into the bus stop. Bodies lay strewn along the way.
As an immediate measure, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant imposed financial sanctions on 87 Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem, including assailants and their family members. Galant also ordered the seizures of funds the Palestinian Authority uses to pay families of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and suspected in deadly attacks against Israelis and those killed in the conflict, including militants.
The PA payments to prisoners’ families have been a central issue in Israel’s punitive measures against the Palestinians in recent months. The new Israeli government decided to recently to deduct the sums the PA had paid to prisoners from tax revenue Israel transfers to the cash-strapped PA.
The Palestinian Authority says these payments as a necessary social welfare while Israel says the so-called Martyrs’ Fund incentivizes violence.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as a capital of their future state.
Hostilities have increased in east Jerusalem and the West Bank since Israel stepped up raids in the occupied territory last spring, following a series of deadly Palestinian attacks within Israel.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those territories since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Last year, 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
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