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Jersusalem Commuter Bus Attacked - 2001-11-04

A Palestinian gunman killed two Israelis and wounded more than 40 others when he opened fire Sunday at an Israeli bus in Jerusalem. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility and identified the attacker, who was shot dead by Israeli security forces and a civilian.

Witnesses say that the gunman opened fire when a commuter bus stopped at a traffic light at the busy intersection of French Hill in northern Jerusalem. Some 40 passengers were said to be traveling on the bus at the time of the attack.

One of the victims was a 16 year-old Israeli girl, who was buried late Sunday evening. At least one of the injured is in a critical condition and five others are described has having suffered serious wounds in the attack.

The Islamic Jihad, an organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, claimed responsibility and identified the gunman as Khatem Shweikeh, 24, from the Palestinian West Bank town of Hebron.

A Jewish settler from the West Bank who happened to be the scene says he saw the assailant open fire on the bus, which was riddled with bullets and had its windows smashed. The man, who gave his name only as Marcus, fired his own gun at the attacker. Two Israeli soldiers joined him during the skirmish and shot the Palestinian gunman dead.

Israeli police sealed off the area, which showed trails of blood, and teenage girls wept as they viewed the scene of the carnage.

There have been several terrorist attacks in the same area this year. In February an Israeli was shot and wounded by Palestinian gunmen, and in March a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the junction, injuring 30 people.