A security guard at the Ateret Kohanim yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem shot and killed a Palestinian man who snatched the weapon of another guard and used it to wound him.
Ten bystanders were wounded by gunfire as the second security guard pursued the shooter down the streets of the Old City. The guard himself was also moderately hurt.
The guard said that he originally experienced a technical problem with his weapon, which delayed his ability to shoot back at the Palestinian gunman during part of the pursuit. He, too, attributed the relative mildness of his injuries to the perpetrator's bad aim.
A police investigation revealed that before killing the shooter, the guard chased him down the streets of the Old City. According to several witnesses in the area, the gunman fired several rounds at the security guard as he was running, but they were inaccurate and missed him.
The shooter, a young man of about 18, was not carrying any identifying documents on his body.
Rescue teams and medics evacuated the injured to the hospitals Shaarei Tzedek, Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Har Hatzofim.
Crime scene in Old City (Photo: Gil Crime scene in Old City (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Large security forces arrived at the scene, as well as police chief Dudi Cohen and Jerusalem police chief Aharon Franco. "The security in Jerusalem is on the highest level. One can arrive there and even walk through the alleys of the Old City," Cohen said.
On the attack itself Cohen said, "This was clearly a nationalistic incident. The terrorist wished to carry out an attack, and that was why he snatched one of the guards' weapons. The guards acted in an exemplary manner, as is required."
An examination of the video taken by closed-circuit cameras in the Old City also revealed that the guard acted properly. In the video he is seen chasing the shooter and engaging in a gunfight with him.
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski condemned the attack and said that "Jerusalem will not succumb to these attempts to undermine the security in the city, and the cultural events will go on as usual."
Sarkis and Shoshan Ishanyan, a father and daughter from Maaleh Adumim who were visiting the Old City Friday, found themselves in the midst of the shooting, and Sarkis, 37, was lightly injured in his leg.
Police forces at crime scene (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"I saw two men with guns at a distance of eight or 10 meters from us. My daughter and I were right between them. They fired at one another and we ducked immediately, I took my daughter and escaped to one of the nearby stores," he described.
His daughter, 11, who was also lightly injured, said, ""Two me were shooting and I was shouting and screaming. It was very scary. I saw their faces and dad dragged me to the nearest shop straight away."
However, MK Ahmed Tibi implied later that the guard might have killed the shooter after the latter was already down and posed no threat. District chief Franco said he could not provide a conclusive answer as to whether this was true or not.
Abu Shamshia, a resident of east Jerusalem who witnessed the incident, also criticized the guard's conduct. "It's unacceptable that 10 people were hit by the same gun. Had this took place in Jaffa or in a mall, this wouldn't have happened. Only because it took place in east Jerusalem did the guard allow himself to act this way."
"Such statements are unacceptable criticism of a young man who deserves an award, who risked his own life and acted by the book," said Gil Dachoch, an attorney representing the security company, in response to allegations of misconduct.
"The security guard adhered to security regulations, endangering his own life and acting in classic self-defense. This is a rare case, in which a young man placed himself in danger, saving the lives of innocents without being forced to do so," Dachoch said.
Yaron Druckman, Yael Branovsky, Amnon Meranda and Neta Sela contributed to the report