Sixteen injured in Jerusalem bus shooting

Gunmen opened fire on a bus today in north eastern Jerusalem, injuring 16 people, police and medical officials said.

Police shot and killed one attacker and the surviving gunmen escaped into a large dry riverbed heading towards Ramot Alon, a large Jewish neighbourhood in the disputed section of Jerusalem, Israel radio said.

Avi Zohar, director of the Magen David Adom ambulance service, said 16 people were evacuated from the scene, four of them with serious injuries.

Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy said between one and three gunmen had opened fire on the bus. A border police officer and a soldier shot and killed one of the gunmen, he told Israel radio.

An eyewitness, who identified himself only as Marcus, said he shot on one gunman after he saw him fire on to the right-hand side of the bus.

‘‘He was standing there and shooting,’’ Marcus told Israel radio. ‘‘I got out of the car. I fired. I emptied an entire clip. He fell. Then two soldiers came and I showed them where he was and they shot him with their M-16s.’’ He said he was not a soldier, but a civilian settler. It was not clear if the gunman was the same one referred to by Levy.

The area of the shooting was the French Hill section of Jerusalem, which is near several Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods.

It came as Israeli officials said they planned to withdraw from a West Bank town, Qalqilya, imminently after a two-week incursion to round up Palestinian militants.

Dore Gold, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the withdrawal would now have to be reassessed.

‘‘Israeli intelligence has warned, if it precipitously redeploys, a wave of terrorism will hit Israel proper,’’ he told Israel Radio. ‘‘Today it has begun to seep in already.’’

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