An Israeli resident on a motorcycle shot and killed an Israeli police officer and injured four others before being shot and killed in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday. Following the attack, the Israeli government declared a “day of mourning” and increased security in Jerusalem. “Israel is a secure and determined country and we will be victorious,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during an emergency meeting of his cabinet.
Israeli media outlets identified the attacker as a Hamas militant who had been on the run after being accused of an attempted stabbing on the Israel-Gaza border last week. Police said that the 24-year-old assailant was the son of an active Hamas member.
Following the attack, Jerusalem’s Old City was plunged into security operations as police began searching for a motive and working to restore calm to the area. Initial reports, however, placed the blame for the attack on Hamas after the militant group’s official media outlet published a video showing the attacker attacking an Israeli policeman, saying that the latest incursion into Israeli territory was “our revenge.” Hamas had earlier announced it would seek revenge for the death of a top member, Elor Azaria, who allegedly stabbed a Palestinian terrorist to death in Hebron last week. After shooting the assailant, the Israeli army said that it had “eliminated a Hamas terrorist cell operating in the Old City of Jerusalem.” It was not immediately clear what evidence the army had presented in support of its claims.