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Jerusalem shooting: Palestinian kills two before being shot dead

Israeli police secure the area after the shooting incident near police headquarters in Jerusalem. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Jerusalem, Israel Oct 09, 2016, 09.33 AM (IST)

Israeli police on Sunday shot dead a Palestinian in Jerusalem who went on a firing spree from a car, a police spokeswoman said. 

At least four people were wounded and two of them later succumed to their injuries in the Hadassah hospital. 

The assailant fired shots at people waiting at a tram shop near the Israeli national police headquarters, which is close to the line separating Palestinian-dominated east Jerusalem from the Jewish west Jerusalem. The ensuing chase by motorcycle police resulted in injuries to a woman motorist. 

"When the terrorist spotted the police he fired at them, and they managed to shoot and kill him. One of the police officers was shot by the gunman during the exchange," the police spokeswoman said. 

The rampage moved to the upscale neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem soon after, where the attacker got out of his car and started shooting at the police. 

Police returned fire and killed the gunman, but not before sustaining critical injuries themselves. 

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the bravery of the police officers, saying they had "acted rapidly and very firmly against the terrorist, who was eliminated".

The incident comes at a time of increased Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during the Jewish new year holidays and the Yom Kippur or the holy day which commences on October 11. The site is holy to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as Temple Mount.

In the last year, at least 220 Palestinians - 149 of which are assailants - have died in violent incidents in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, Reuters reports.  Last year's high holidays had also led to clashes and an upsurge in Palestinian gun, knife and car-ramming attacks.

Palestinians, many of whom act alone and with rudimentary weapons, have killed at least 33 Israelis and two visiting Americans in the attacks, as per Reuters. Palestinian leaders say assailants are acting out of desperation after the collapse of peace talks in 2014 and the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land that Palestinians seek for an independent state.

Israel says the attacks have been fuelled by anti-Israeli sentiment on social media and by Palestinian officials.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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