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Tuesday, 22 January, 2002, 17:51 GMT
Gunman wounds 20 in Jerusalem attack
Ambulances
A fleet of ambulances was quickly on the scene
A gunman has opened fire with an automatic weapon in west Jerusalem, injuring more than 20 people, some of them seriously.


The terrorist tried to run away, but after a short chase, police succeeded in hitting him and killed him

Mickey Levy
Jerusalem police chief
Police say the gunman fired on people at a bus stop and other passers-by for about 10 minutes before being shot dead.

The al-Aqsa brigades, a group linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, say the gunman belonged to their organisation.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jerusalem says Israel is expected to seek revenge for this latest attack.

The incident happened in Jaffa Street, near a popular shopping mall which was the scene of a suicide bombing in December 2001.


The streets of the city were crowded with people returning home from work.

Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy said: "The terrorist tried to run away, but after a short chase, police succeeded in hitting him and killed him."

He discounted earlier reports that two gunmen took part in the attack.

"There was only one terrorist attacker, his rifle is in our hands and the area is being evacuated."

The Israeli Government has blamed Mr Arafat's Palestinian Authority for the attack.

"We hold responsible the terrorist organisations Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Tanzim, which commit in turns these atrocities, and the Palestinian Authority which does nothing to stop them," said spokesman Avi Pazner.

Injured woman
Some of the injured are seriously ill in hospital
The latest attack was "a continuation of the terrorist campaign against Israeli civilians, women and children, committed by terorist organisations with the passive or active encouragement of the Palestinian Authority", he added.

The shooting occurred shortly after the militant Islamic group Hamas declared that it would be waging all-out war on Israel.

The group issued a statement following an incursion by Israeli forces into the Palestinian-run West Bank city of Nablus, in which four Hamas members were killed.

"This massacre opens the door wide open for a fierce war, which will reach the Zionist gangs everywhere, and with all means," it said.

Following the Israeli raid on Nablus, thousands of demonstrators surrounded a Palestinian police station in the town and forced the release of a militant - the brother of one of those killed in the raid.

At one point, Palestinian police opened fire on the crowd.

Earlier, the Israeli army withdrew to the outskirts of the West Bank town of Tulkarm, after its biggest incursion into Palestinian territory since the Oslo peace accords.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jeremy Cooke
"The gunman had fired indiscriminately"
Val Yorke, International Relations Analyst
"We have a very difficult situation"
Ra'anan Gissin, Israeli spokesman
"This is a deliberate attempt to escalate the situation"
Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman
"Israelis are paying the price as a result of Sharon's policies"
See also:

22 Jan 02 | Middle East
Militant released after Israeli raid
21 Jan 02 | Middle East
Mid-East religions condemn bloodshed
02 Dec 01 | Middle East
Death toll climbs in Jerusalem attacks
03 Dec 01 | profiles
Who are Hamas?
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