John Kerry
John KerryReuters

The United States State Department strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Jerusalem that left two people dead on Sunday.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attack that took place today in Jerusalem, which resulted in the death of two Israelis and injured several others. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick and full recovery for those wounded,” said the statement issued Sunday afternoon by Marc Toner, Deputy State Department spokesman.

The statement continued: “There is absolutely no justification for the taking of innocent lives. We also condemn the statements glorifying this reprehensible and cowardly attack.”

The statement came hours after an Arab terrorist shot and killed two Jews at the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Israel’s capital, and then continued his shooting spree as police pursued him, ultimately shooting and killing the assailant.

The assailant, a 39-year-old resident of eastern Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, had been expected to report to an Israeli prison on Sunday at the time of his shooting attack for a conviction on assaulting a police officer in 2013.

He reportedly had been known to Israel Police as a suspected terrorist and member of the terrorist Hamas organization for several years. He previously spent a year in jail for incitement in Facebook posts including some which said: “We sacrifice our souls and our blood for you Al-Aqsa,” and, “we sacrifice our children for Al-Aqsa.”

He told the Arab Maan news agency in an interview Saturday night that he would turn himself into the Israeli Ramla prison at 10 a.m. on Sunday, the time that he started the attack. “Jerusalem is under a serious threat of ‘Judaization’ and is under an unprecedented attack by the Israeli authorities,” he said in the phone interview.

The United Nations Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also condemned the attack in a statement issues Sunday following the attack.

“I condemn this morning’s terror attack by a Palestinian perpetrator in occupied East Jerusalem which killed two Israelis and injured six others. Nothing can justify such attacks. My thoughts are with the families and friends of all victims and I hope for a full and speedy recovery of the wounded,” he said in the statement.

“It is deplorable and unacceptable that Hamas and others choose to glorify such acts which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis,” he also said.