The shooting came amid a fragile ceasefire between the militant group and the Israeli military
Hamas fighters killed three Israeli civilians and injured others in a point-blank shooting at a crowded bus stop in West Jerusalem on Thursday. The militants were gunned down on the spot by off-duty Israeli soldiers.
The attack came hours after the Gaza-based militant group agreed to extend a truce with the Israeli military for a seventh day to allow for the continued exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Video footage of the attack showed two gunmen pulling up at the bus stop in a car, exiting the vehicle, and opening fire on the crowd with a pistol and a rifle. As the crowd disperses, the attackers try to get back into their car, but are shot dead by three men later identified by police as two off-duty soldiers and a civilian.
Three Israeli civilians were killed and at least eight others were injured. Israeli media identified one of the dead as a 74-year-old rabbi.
Hamas claimed responsibility shortly afterwards, describing the attack as “a natural response to unprecedented crimes conducted by the Occupation [Israel],” including the Israeli military operation in Gaza and the alleged mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on October 7, firing a sustained rocket barrage against Israeli towns and cities before sending its militants into Israel to occupy settlements and military outposts near the Gaza border. The group took around 240 hostages to the strip, more than 80 of whom have been released since the truce began last week. Around 1,200 Israelis were killed in the October 7 attack.
Israel responded by launching a bombing campaign on Gaza, before sending troops into the strip at the end of October. The Jewish state has faced heavy international criticism over its military campaign, which has left more than 15,000 Palestinians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Around two thirds of this number are women and children, the ministry claims.
The shooting in West Jerusalem has not affected the truce. Israel still plans on resuming its Gaza offensive when the ceasefire expires, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating on Thursday that “I swore to eradicate Hamas. Nothing will stop us.”
Source: International Media