The Palestinian gunman killed a 26-year-old immigrant from South Africa and wounded three other people in the Old City before being neutralized by police.
By Erin Viner
In what was the second terror attack in Jerusalem in 4 days, 42-year-old Fadi Abu Shkhaydam opened fire with a Carl Gustav machine gun at Israelis walking toward the Western Wall of the Temple Mount holy site shortly after 9 AM on Sunday.
Police were able to respond to the crime within 32 seconds, said Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman.
2 female officers and a male counterpart quickly shot the terrorist dead, but not before he killed Eliyahu David Kay. The victim, who sustained multiple gun wounds including fatal shots to the head, was pronounced dead after being evacuated to an area hospital. Kay had studied at a Jewish seminary and enlisted in the IDF after coming to the country. He had been working as a tour guide for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, and was engaged to be wed in six months.
Jewish seminary student Aharon Yehuda Immergreen was seriously wounded in the attack, while another civilian and 2 members of the Police Border Patrol sustained light injuries.
The Islamist Hamas terror group that rules Gaza swiftly claimed the gunman as a senior member of its so-called “political wing” in Jerusalem, as supporters of the terror group in the Palestinian enclave distributed free candy in celebration of Kay’s murder.
Hundreds of Arab residents participated in a procession to the gunman’s home, while chanting “Millions of martyrs will march to Jerusalem.” Many waved green flags and shouted support of Hamas.
Israeli Minister of Public Security Omer Bar-Lev said preliminary investigation indicates the terror attack was planned in advance. Shkhaidm’s wife left Israel just days before, and all computers and electronic devices were removed from their home in the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett used his opening remarks at the weekly cabinet meeting to relay condolences to the family of the victim and ask to be joined in prayer for the healing of the wounded.
After commending the officers who engaged in a vigorous gun battle to swiftly end the attack, the Israeli leader announced his instructions for bolstered security at the site to prevent additional violence.
Prime Minister Bennett also noted the decision of the United Kingdom to designate Hamas in its entirety as a terror organization.
Saying he would “would like to personally thank my friend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for this important decision, which will lead to more decisions in the future, Bennet said that the move “reflects a welcome understanding” that he hoped “will spread to all of Europe about how terrorist organizations work. There are no rockets and no terrorism without a political wrapper, without fundraising, without an incitement machine.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who is currently in London on a state visit, said that “Jerusalem received another brutal reminder of where hatred can lead, when a Hamas terrorist murdered an innocent young man in cold blood in the Old City.”
“The fact that the terrorist came from the so-called ‘political wing’ of Hamas shows that the British Government is absolutely correct to proscribe the whole of Hamas as a terrorist organization, and I call on the rest of the international community to follow suit,” said the President.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also offered his condolences to victim’s families, while vowing that the nation’s security forces “will continue to fight terrorism wherever it appears.”