Published January 13, 2015
Israel vowed to retaliate after a day of attacks — including a late-night shooting on a Jerusalem bus stop — killed five people from both sides and brought an end to a brief reprieve from Israeli-Palestinian violence.
A Palestinian gunman opened fire on Israelis at a bus stop in a Jewish neighborhood late Monday, wounding eight people before officers shot him dead, police said.
The other shootings occurred at Israeli roadblocks in the West Bank. Soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian as he drove his pregnant wife to a hospital, a Palestinian girl was shot dead as she charged a checkpoint and Palestinians ambushed an Israeli car at another checkpoint, killing two men and seriously wounding a pregnant woman, the military and rescue services said. Both pregnant women later gave birth to healthy babies.
A senior Israeli official said understandings reached last week toward calming the violence were no longer in effect because of Palestinian attacks, and Israel would respond.
"It is clear that the other side planned to renew the violence," said Ranaan Gissin, spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He said Israel would retaliate in what he called a "measured response."
The latest attack occurred after nightfall in Neve Yaakov, a Jewish neighborhood in a disputed part of Jerusalem claimed by both sides, police and witnesses said.
"He ducked behind a car and fired," said Yulia Kizgila, 23, an eyewitness. Eight people, including three policemen, were wounded. Another witness, Daniel Binyamin, watched from an apartment. He said he saw one gunman firing below.
Police charged the gunman and shot him, said Jerusalem police Cmdr. Mickey Levy. He said another escaped into a nearby Palestinian village.The car was riddled with bullets and the street smeared with blood.
At first, police said there were two gunmen and that one was killed. Later, they said one was critically wounded, and two hours after the incident, they said there was only one attacker. Police also took out a court order imposing a blackout on the investigation.
In Nablus, the Al Aqsa Brigades — a group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement — claimed responsibility for two of Monday's attacks, including the shooting on the bus stop.
In a telephone conversation with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sharon noted that a group linked with Arafat had taken responsibility for the attacks and said Israel would "take the required steps to defend its people," according to a statement from Sharon's office.
Meanwhile, in the second such incident in as many days in Nablus, Israeli soldiers opened fire on a car carrying a pregnant woman heading to the hospital. A Palestinian man was shot and killed while trying to circumvent a temporary roadblock Monday, the military said. His wife, who was lightly injured, gave birth to a girl shortly after her husband died.
A pregnant woman was seriously wounded under similar circumstances Sunday, but gave birth to a healthy baby girl, doctors said.
Also Monday, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl was killed when she ran toward an army checkpoint near Tulkarem brandishing a knife, the army said. Soldiers shot her after ordering her to stop and shooting warning bullets in the air, the army said.
As night fell, Palestinians opened fire on an Israeli car waiting at a roadblock near the Jewish settlement of Nokdim, south of Bethlehem, killing two men, the military said. A pregnant woman in the car was seriously wounded but delivered a healthy baby girl at a Jerusalem hospital by Caesarean section an hour after the attack, hospital officials said.
The Al Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for that attack as well in a telephone call to The Associated Press.
In 17 months of fighting, 994 people have been killed on the Palestinian side and 285 have died on the Israeli side.
Israel will hit back for the Palestinian attacks, Gissin said. He said understandings reached Thursday in a meeting of security commanders were off. Israel removed some roadblocks and withdrew from some positions in Gaza, and the Palestinians pledged to work for an end to the attacks.
In the week before the security meeting, Israel pounded Palestinian security buildings and checkpoints and killed nearly 50 Palestinians in response to bloody Palestinian attacks.
On Monday, Israel eased restrictions on Arafat, who was trapped in the West Bank town of Ramallah for nearly three months.
Israel pulled its tanks out of Ramallah early Monday. Arafat, who had been confined to his headquarters, is now permitted to move around the town, but no further.
Palestinians denounced the partial Israeli steps and canceled security meetings in protest.
European Union envoy Javier Solana, after meeting Arafat in Ramallah on Monday, called on Israel to lift all limitations so that the Palestinian leader can do his job.
"The sooner he has freedom of movement, it will be better," he said.