The fight to loosen gun restrictions in Israel has come to the fore as a gun attack in West Jerusalem claimed the life of three people, while up to others have been injured.
ARISE NEWS Special Correspondent Karl Bostic reports that Thursday’s attack, the first in Jerusalem since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, was made possible as the attackers, who were shot dead at the scene, were residents of East Jerusalem, and therefore, had access to travel anywhere in Israel.
Giving details on the attack and all that followed, Bostic said, “Before 8 o’ clock, a white car pulls up to a bus stop at the entrance in Jerusalem, two men get out and begin opening fire on passengers waiting in line to get on the bus. Immediately, people were scrambling to get onto the bus. In the end, two people were killed on the site, five injured, a third person, a young woman, she died of her wounds in the hospital.
“But what’s important to know is where did these gunmen come from? They were residents of East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is predominantly Arab. Those living in East Jerusalem, they actually have ID cards that permit them to travel anywhere in Israel.
“This is the first time we’ve seen this since October 7. With these cards, they can travel without going through checkpoints or being stopped or anything. And these two gunmen, turns out, had served prison time. One of them for ten years, another for about ten months, and they both were members of Hamas as well. They were killed on site by two off duty Israeli military reservers.
“One of them, in fact, was on a 12-hour leave. He was on his way back to Gaza, he was at the bus stop waiting to return for duty in Gaza. They both had their weapons with then.”
Speaking about the modified gun laws, Bostic said, “A civilian that was armed also opened fire on them and killed those two as well. What was really striking is the fact that despite the ceasefire in Gaza, you still have the influence of Hamas in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and this could portend yet another fight. That’s what people are very nervous and jittery about, so much so that Israel’s Interior Minister visited the scene.
“His party is a coalition member of the government, it’s the most extreme party in the government, very far right and very hard line against Palestinians, and he is the one who’s loosening restrictions for Israelis to buy guns, so much so that now, you only need to take a four and a half hour training course on how to use a gun and you are then allowed to buy a gun on the spot.”
He said that due to the new allowance, about 1,700 gun permits are being given daily to Israelis who applied, saying, “What happened today was proof that Israelis need to arm themselves”.
“The Israeli military has said that they are ready to resume military operations in Gaza, so, this is really a day to day situation now.”
Also, he spoke on the purpose of the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken’s visit to Israel and said, “They do support the extension of a humanitarian pause, and that’s what we’re seeing right now. So, he’s here to try to extend these humanitarian pauses to allow for a steady flow of humanitarian aid, where we see trucks bringing in food, water, medicine, and also fuel, he wants to see that continue if there is resumption of hostilities.
“At the same time, he wants to start looking and planning for the day after the war, what Gaza will look like without an Israeli presence on the ground, so it will be a discussion centred around that.
“But just again, just this morning’s attack in Jerusalem is a reminder that it’s going to be very hard for him to persuade or convince Israel from restraining itself in carrying out its attacks, not only in Gaza, which may begin very soon as early as tomorrow morning, but also in the West Bank where you now got 2,000 arrests since October 7, preventive arrests in connection with what’s going on in Gaza without even being charged.”