At least five Americans, including a pregnant woman, are among the people injured after a Palestinian man opened fire on a bus in Jerusalem, which the U.S. State Department called a “terrorist attack.”
The Palestinian man, identified as 26-year-old Amir Sidawi, a resident of East Jerusalem, targeted a bus carrying Jewish worshipers who had just prayed at the Western Wall early Sunday morning, injuring at least eight people, two of whom are in serious condition.
Two Americans were being treated at the Hadassah Medical Center, and three at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, according to CNN, which said at least two of the Americans injured were tourists.
The pregnant woman underwent an emergency cesarean section (C-section) at the Shaare Zedek hospital, which described the condition of both mother and baby to be serious.
The woman is from Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York, The New York Post said, adding that three other Americans injured were part of one family from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., identified one of the victims as Shia Hersch Glick of Williamsburg, according to the Post.
A cancer survivor and member of the Satmar Hasidic movement, a branch of ultra-orthodox Judaism, Glick was “shot in the neck while shielding his wife and kids,” Schumer said.
He is in critical condition but is expected to survive, and his son was also wounded after being shot in the arm.
“Our Ambassador to Israel and U.S. officials in Jerusalem are in touch with the families of the U.S. citizen victims, to whom we have offered our sympathies and support,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement, calling it a “terrorist attack.”
“Our team in Jerusalem has been working around the clock to support the victims and their families, and will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Price added.
The suspect initially fled the scene after firing, but later turned himself in by asking a cab driver to take him to a police station.
“There is one conclusion from this incident, as from previous incidents: Whoever harms Israeli citizens has nowhere to hide,” the BBC quoted Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid as telling a cabinet meeting. “We will pursue them, find them wherever they are, and deal with them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Meanwhile, one of injured Americans, identified as 22-year-old Menachem Palace from Brooklyn, said he was in Israel with a group as part of a birthright trip — a free excursion to Israel offered to young Jewish adults across the world — to the Middle East.
He told Israeli outlet COLlive he was not going to cut short his trip because of the incident.
“The trip ends on Thursday and I plan to stay. This is our land — the safest place in the world,” he was quoted as saying.