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Israel says 2 people are dead after a man rammed his car into a group of people

Israeli emergency responders gather at the scene in Jerusalem.
Ahmad Gharabli
AFP via Getty Images
Israeli emergency responders gather at the scene in Jerusalem.

Updated February 10, 2023 at 10:40 AM ET

TEL AVIV — ​Israeli police say at least two people were killed and several others wounded when a Palestinian rammed them with a car in Jerusalem. This comes two weeks after a spike in attacks between Palestinians and Israelis.

Israeli officials and media say a 6-year-old boy and a man in his 20s were killed when a Palestinian driver rammed his car into a group of people at a bus stop in Ramot, a largely ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Police say an off-duty policeman shot and killed the driver. Israeli media identified him as Hussein Karakeh, 31, from the Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiyeh in East Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacker's home would be sealed and demolished — a tactic human rights groups have opposed.

Israel's far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the scene of the attack, greeted by angry young Israelis chanting "death to terrorists." He said he would order police to set up checkpoints to inspect all Palestinians entering and leaving the attacker's neighborhood, and he vowed to pursue legislation to institute the death penalty — which has almost never been carried out in its history — against convicted attackers.

Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the suspected attack, and some Palestinians celebrated it in the Gaza Strip. Following the car ramming, a group of Israeli settlers threw stones in a Palestinian village in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, according to footage released by Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.

This attack is the latest amid a period of heightened violence. There have been several Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem in recent weeks, including a deadly shooting two weeks ago outside a synagogue in Jerusalem that left nine Israelis and a Ukrainian citizen dead. There have also been more than 10 months of deadly Israeli army raids in the West Bank; on Thursday, Palestinian officials said Israeli troops killed a 22-year-old Palestinian.

CIA director William Burns said last week in a videotaped speech he's concerned about the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian violence growing.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.