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U.S. citizens wounded in shooting near Jerusalem's Western Wall

Tom Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened to confirm that Americans were injured in this attack.”
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/ Source: The Associated Press

TEL AVIV —  Five American citizens were among eight people wounded after a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bus near Jerusalem’s Old City early Sunday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy has confirmed.

Two of the victims were in serious condition, including a pregnant woman with abdominal injuries and a man with gunshot wounds to the head and neck, according to Israeli hospitals treating them.

Tom Nides, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened to confirm that Americans were injured in this attack.”

A spokesperson for the Office of Palestinian Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem later confirmed to NBC News that five American citizens were among the wounded. They added that they were gathering information on the attack and did not provide further details about the victims.

The shooting happened as the bus waited in a parking lot near the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.  

Among the wounded was Elazar Prover, 19, his father told NBC News Sunday.

Yehezkel Prover form Kiryat Yearim, Israel, said his son, a U.S. citizen, had called him in the early hours of the morning after the attack.

“He told me that he was slightly injured and that he was feeling well. The bullet that hit him went from one side of his body to the other side,” he said.  

“While wounded, he saved the life of a man who was bleeding from a dangerous cut in the neck,” he added. “Elazar learned first aid so he knew how to help and bandaged him and stopped the bleeding.” 

Israeli police said the suspected attacker turned himself in after security forces had pushed into the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan to pursue the suspect.

At a meeting of his Cabinet Sunday, Israeli Prime Mnister Yair Lapid said the suspected attacker was operating alone. He added that he had previously been arrested by Israel.

He added that his government was “wishing the injured a speedy recovery,” and the entire State of Israel was “praying for their safety and wishing them a full recovery.”

The attack in Jerusalem followed a tense week between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Last weekend, Israeli aircraft unleashed an offensive in the Gaza Strip targeting the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad and setting off three days of fierce cross-border fighting.

Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets during the flare-up to avenge the airstrikes, which killed two of its commanders and other militants. Israel said the attack was meant to thwart threats from the group to respond to the arrest of one of its officials in the occupied West Bank.

Forty-nine Palestinians, including 17 children and 14 militants, were killed, and several hundred were injured in the fighting, which ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, the Palestinian Ministry said. No Israeli was killed or seriously injured.

The IDF said in a statement that a rocket fired from Gaza was responsible for the deaths of at least four children after it hit a Palestinian home in the Jebaliya refugee camp, where the Health Ministry said six people were killed.

The Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, stayed on the sidelines.

A day after the cease-fire halted the worst round of Gaza fighting in more than a year, Israeli troops killed three Palestinian militants and wounded dozens in a shootout that erupted during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv and Hyder Abbasi from London.