Two men have been wounded in what Israeli police say was a suspected “terror attack” that took place near the Shimon Hatzadik tomb in East Jerusalem early Tuesday local time.
A police statement said the force received a report of a shooting at a vehicle in the area of Shimon Hatzadik, which is located in East Jerusalem where tensions between Palestinians and Jewish settlers have been simmering in recent years.
The Shimon Hatzadik tomb is a revered holy site in Judaism located in the largely Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.
Two people were “moderately injured,” according to medical officials and were transferred for further medical treatment, the police statement added.
“Police and Border Police officers are at the scene conducting searches for the suspect who fled the scene,” it continued.
In a follow-up statement, police said forces located a “Carlo” style submachine gun near the site of the shooting.
A spokesperson for the Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service the two injured men involved a 50-year-old male who was sent to be treated in Shaare Tzedek Hospital and a 48-year-old to Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital.
The attack comes amid escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence. Last year was the deadliest for both Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and for Israelis in nearly two decades, and this year is on pace to be worse.
Tensions have boiled over during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which coincided this year with the Jewish Passover holiday, after Israeli police twice raided the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, whose compound is also known as the Temple Mount – one of the most revered places in Islam and Judaism. Israeli police arrested hundreds whom they accused of barricading themselves inside the mosque and throwing fireworks and stones, leading to wide condemnations from the Arab and Muslim world.
The complex and the neighborhood where Tuesday’s shooting took place lies in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state and which most of the international community considers to be Israeli-occupied territory. Israel captured it from Jordan in a 1967 war and considers both East and West Jerusalem as its united, “eternal capital.”