2016 Jerusalem shooting
Part of Israeli–Palestinian conflict
LocationEast Jerusalem
Date9 October 2016
TargetCivilians, police officers
Attack type
Mass shooting
Deaths2 (in addition to the perpetrator)
Perpetrators39 year old Palestinian man [1]
MotiveIslamist terrorism

On 9 October 2016 in Jerusalem, Musbah Abu Sbaih, a Hamas militant shot 8 people from a car near the Ammunition Hill light rail stop, killing two and wounding six. The police gave chase, Shaih was shot and killed while shooting at pursuing police.[2][3]


The gunman attacked the Ammunition Hill Jerusalem Light Rail station in East Jerusalem, located near the national police headquarters, in a drive-by shooting.[4][5] Police on motorcycles gave chase as the gunman fled to the nearby predominately Arab Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood where he shot and wounded two police officers and was subsequently killed in a shootout with police.[6][7][8]


The attack took place at a time when terrorist attacks had declined and casualties were rare since the few recent attacks had been planned by untrained "Lone wolves," who planned poorly and were not heavily armed with guns or explosives.[9][10]

The attack was unusual because strict gun control makes it rare for non-security personnel to have access to guns.[11] Most Terrorist attacks on Israelis in 2015/16 were stabbing attacks or vehicle ramming attacks, making this the deadliest attack on Israelis since the June 2016 Tel Aviv shooting.[12]


The gunman, Musbah Abu Sbaih, (alt. Mesbah Abu Sbaih), (39)[13][14] was a member of Hamas.[13][15] was a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.[15] He had a long police record,[15] with Yossi Melman remarking that Sbaih had a "record of involvement in provocations regarding the Temple Mount, incitement, friction with security forces, and serving a year in prison"[11]

On the day of the shooting, the Sbaih was due to begin serving a four-month prison sentence for assaulting a police officer in 2013.[16][17] According to a Hamas statement following the attack, Abu Sbaih was due to serve a 4-month term of "administrative detention," but, "Instead of handing himself over, he chose the best way of the holy warriors, to carry out a heroic attack."[18] Hamas claimed credit for the killings, and described Sbaih as a man known as the "Lion of Al Aqsa."[18]


Israeli response

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan blamed the attacks on the fact that, "Incitement is plentiful, and it drives people to commit terror attacks." He stated that Facebook and other social media companies are, "directly responsible for what's happening." Callin it, "Scandalous that Facebook reopened Hamas' pages last week in the wake of pressure from the Palestinian street." [7]

Security measures and arrests

Israeli police closed the pastry shop belonging to the gunman's family on October 11, describing the shop as a "center for incitement," where videos that "encourage terrorism" were filmed.[19] The family of the killer had celebrated the event by passing out candy to passersby and visitors after the shootings.[20]

Israeli police closed a printing shop in the town of A-Ram that had been publishing posters in praise of the perpetrator, including some posted at his family home. Printing equipment and the stock of incitement posters were seized.[21]

The day after the attack, the perpetrator's 17-year-old daughter, Eiman, posted a video of herself on Facebook in which she said, "We deem my father as martyr. ... I am proud of what my father did. ... We're very happy and proud of our father. ... My father is a great man."[21][22] She was arrested and detained for 5 days, then released after paying a fine. She is required to stay out of Jerusalem for 2 months, not post on social media, and not give any media interviews for an unstipulated amount of time.[16][21]

Palestinian responses

Players for West Bank Premier League soccer team Hilal Al-Quds Club in East Jerusalem had their photo taken under a banner celebrating the gunman as "martyr" and a "hero." However, a team spokesman told the Associated Press that the image would be removed from social media sites because it violates FIFA rules.[23][21][24]

Published photos show supporters of Hamas handing out Baklava and candy in celebration of the "martyrdom" of Abu Sbeih.[22] Candy was also handed out in his honor in eastern Jerusalem.[22][21] Fatah, the Party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised the killer and proclaimed a day of mourning in the gunman's memory.[20][22] The team's coach, 55-year-old Maher abu Snina, was arrested "on suspicion of incitement and support for terrorist activities against Jews."[25][21]

On Eid al-Fitr, 2017, a Palestinian family distributed boxes of candy with an image of killer Musbah Abu Sbaih on the lid to Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount.[26]

Other responses

The Omani newspaper Alwatan described the shootings as, "a response to Israel's crimes".[27]

Lamis Deek, a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Council on American–Islamic Relations, criticized those who describe the drive-by shooting as an "attack," characterizing it instead as an example of a Palestinian Arab who was "resisting violence."[28]


According to Avi Issacharoff this attack was promoted by Palestinian activists as a "template for future actions in the so-called 'Al-Quds Intifada.'"[20]

According to Amos Harel, since the attack was filmed by Palestinians, it is likely to generate copycat attacks.[6]

Yossi Melman discussed this attack in the context of the "weakening" authority of aging Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.[11]

Chief of Israeli police Roni Alsheikh admitted in a press conference that he feared that the "success" of this murderer might embolden others to attack Israelis.[29]

See also


  1. ^ "Jerusalem Shooter Was to Begin Prison Sentence for Assaulting Israeli Cop". Haaretz.
  2. ^ Hasson, Nir (9 October 2016). "Jerusalem Shooting Attack; Two Killed Six Wounded". Haaretz. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Palestinian injures 8 Israelis in Jerusalem shooting". Fox News. AP. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Palestinian kills two people in Jerusalem, then shot dead: police". Reuters. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Shooting attack in Jerusalem wounds 3, assailant killed: police". The Express Tribune. AFP. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b Harel, Amos (9 October 2016). "'Success' of Jerusalem Shooting Attack Likely to Inspire Copycats". Haaretz. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b Hasson, Nir (10 October 2016). "Jerusalem Attack: Two Killed, Six Wounded in Drive-by Shooting at Light Rail Stop". Haaretz. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  8. ^ Eisenbud, Daniel (9 October 2016). "Jerusalem Terror Attack Leaves Trail of Death and Destruction". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  9. ^ Michael, Kobi (14 October 2016). "The Palestinian Terrorism of the Past Year: Causes and Policy Recommendations". INSS Insight (862). Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Terrorist attacks in Israel drop to lowest tally in over a year". JTA. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Melman, Yossie (10 October 2016). "Many unanswered questions remain after Jerusalem attack". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Jerusalem shooter near Israeli police HQ leaves two dead, gets killed, officials say". CBS News. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Jerusalem shooting: Two killed by Palestinian gunman". BBC. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Israeli police fatally shoot Palestinian attacker in Jerusalem". WAFA. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Federman, Josef (9 October 2016). "Palestinian shooter in Jerusalem kills 2, wounds 5". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Teenage daughter of Jerusalem light rail attacker released from detention". JTA. 16 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  17. ^ Ragson, Adam (9 October 2016). "Jerusalem terrorist carried out attack on day he was set to be jailed for prior offense". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Palestinian Shooter in Jerusalem Kills 2, Wounds 5". The New York Times. AP. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Israel demolishes home of Palestinian attack accomplice". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. AP. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  20. ^ a b c Issacharoff, Avi (9 October 2016). "Does the Jerusalem terror attack signal a new uprising?". Times of Israel. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Winer, Stuart (20 October 2016). "Troops shut printer for making posters lauding Jerusalem terrorist". Times of Israel. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  22. ^ a b c d "Teenage daughter of Jerusalem shooter arrested after praising him on viral video". JTA. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  23. ^ "Palestinian football team poses with banner praising attacker". The Indian Express. AP. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  24. ^ Ariel, Ben (19 October 2016). "Bennett summons teachers who supported terrorism". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  25. ^ Trabelsi-Hadad, Tamar (19 October 2016). "Bennett orders hearing of East Jerusalem principal on grounds of incitement". Ynetnews. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Pictures of Terrorist Prisoners and a Shaheed Distributed on the Temple Mount by Family of Palestinian Prisoner on Eid al-Fitr". MEMRI. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  27. ^ al Jashi, Mohammad (18 October 2016). "US criticism of Israel perhaps a sign of things to come". Gulf News. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  28. ^ Miller, Paul (24 October 2016). "CAIR Board Member Calls Murder of Jews by Palestinian Gunman 'Self-Defense'". The New York Observer. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  29. ^ "Police chief: Jerusalem attack could embolden terrorists, but no need for alarm". Jerusalem Post. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.