Palestinian gunmen killed after attack on Jerusalem bus

Israeli emergency personnel evacuating the body of one of the two Palestinian assailants whom police said carried out a drive-by shooting on a commuter bus in an east Jerusalem suburb yesterday. The duo were shot dead by police just outside Jerusalem
Israeli emergency personnel evacuating the body of one of the two Palestinian assailants whom police said carried out a drive-by shooting on a commuter bus in an east Jerusalem suburb yesterday. The duo were shot dead by police just outside Jerusalem's Old City.PHOTO: REUTERS

TEL AVIV • Two Palestinians fired on a bus in Jerusalem yesterday before fleeing and again opening fire outside the Old City, leaving one person seriously wounded, Israeli police said.

Both attackers were shot and killed by police, hospital officials and security forces said.

The shootings were the latest in a string of attacks coinciding with United States Vice-President Joe Biden's arrival on Tuesday.

The first shooting occurred in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of northern Jerusalem, police said. A driver returned fire at the assailants before they fled.

Later, outside Jerusalem's Old City, they opened fire again, seriously wounding a 50-year-old man. Medics said the victim may have been a Palestinian from east Jerusalem. The two assailants were then shot by police.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian tried to stab Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank and was shot dead, the army said.

On Tuesday, a Palestinian went on a stabbing spree along the Tel Aviv waterfront, killing an American tourist and wounding 12 people.

Around a 15-minute walk from where the stabbing spree took place, Mr Biden met former Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Mr Biden "condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal attack which occurred in Jaffa during his meeting with Mr Peres, and commented that there is no justification for such acts of terror", his office said.

The US State Department identified the dead American as Mr Taylor Allen Force, a 29-year-old native of Texas and a US Army veteran, and denounced the attack.

Three other assaults occurred on Tuesday - two in Jerusalem and one in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv.

Violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories since last October has killed 184 Palestinians and 28 Israelis. Most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Others were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes or demonstrations.

Mr Biden met separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday. The White House has said Mr Biden will not be pursuing any new peace initiatives during his visit despite the wave of violence.

Before Tuesday's violence, Mr Biden's visit had been overshadowed by a new blow to the rocky relationship between US President Barack Obama and Mr Netanyahu.

Mr Netanyahu's decision not to accept an invitation for talks with Mr Obama in Washington later this month "surprised" the White House, which first learnt of it through news reports.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2016, with the headline 'Palestinian gunmen killed after attack on Jerusalem bus'. Print Edition | Subscribe