One Dead, Four Injured After Gunman Opens Fire in Jerusalem's Old City

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Fadi Abu Shkhaidem, during the attack in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.
Fadi Abu Shkhaidem, during the attack in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.

One man was killed, and another four injured, after a Palestinian gunman opened fire by the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Sunday. 

The assailant, 42-year-old Fadi Abu Shkhaidem from East Jerusalem, used an automatic weapon to shoot at civilians from short-range by the Chain Gate, before he was shot dead by security forces. Afterwards, the police shut down the Old City, fearing a copycat attack. 

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25-year-old Eliyahu Kay, who recently immigrated from South Africa, was evacuated to hospital with a head injury and later succumbed to his wounds. Kay, who lived in Modi'in, worked as a guide for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev at the scene of the Jerusalem attack, Sunday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Another victim was evacuated to Shaare Zedek with wounds to his upper body, while three others were taken to Hadassah Medical Center: a 46-year-old in a stable condition and two police officers, aged 30 and 31, who were lightly injured by shrapnel and later discharged. 

A Hamas spokesperson said Abu Shehadam was one of the group's leaders in the Shuafat refugee camp. After the incident, Israeli police forces entered the refugee camp and visited the gunman's home. 

Before carrying out the attack, Abu Shehadam, who was a preacher and taught Islam in a school in Shuafat, wrote in a Facebook post in Arabic: "God determines our destiny, but most people do not know. The question of our destiny is a question that God determines, God in His wisdom and greatness, He chooses whoever He wants and presents them to their destiny."

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev arrived at the scene shortly after the attack and corroborated that the assailant was a member of Hamas, adding that he was from the group's political wing. He also said that the assailant was disguised as an ultra-Orthodox worshiper. 

Eliyahu Kay.Credit: Facebook.
The assailant of the Jerusalem shooting, Fadi Abu Shkhaidem.
The assailant's gun at the scene of the attack.Credit: Israel Police
Israeli forces entering Shuafat refugee camp.Credit: Jack Khoury

Bar-Lev added that the weapon used was not an Israeli military rifle and was likely smuggled in from somewhere. 

Addressing the media, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that forces responded to the incident within 32 seconds and that they are still securing the area. The current estimate is that the gunman acted alone, but the incident is still under investigation. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed his condolences to the family of the victim, and praised the work of security personnel who responded to the shooting. 

He added that this incident is the "second recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem," following last week's stabbing attack in the Old City, in which two Border Police officers were wounded. The suspect, a 16-year-old from East Jerusalem, was fatally shot at the scene.

Israeli police at the scene of a shooting in the old city of Jerusalem.Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA - AFP
The scene of the attack, Sunday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Israeli police's forensics team seals off an alley near the scene of a shooting in the old city of Jerusalem.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI - AFP

Bennett instructed the city's security forces to "prepare accordingly" for further attacks or violence.

Hamas Spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou also said that “Our people’s resistance will continue to be legitimate by all means and tools against the Zionist occupier until our desired goals are achieved and the occupation is expelled from our holy sites and all of our lands.”

Hamas' Jerusalem spokesperson Mohammed Hamada added that attacks in a similar vein will carry on "against the backdrop of attempts to harm Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Islamic Jihad, meanwhile, said it held Israel "fully responsible" for the attack, which was "a natural response to the crimes of the settlers and the army and the deepening of the occupation." 

Jack Khoury, Yaniv Kubovich and Reuters contributed to this story.

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