JERUSALEM – A Palestinian gunman opened fire at the entrance to a settlement near Jerusalem, killing an Israel policeman and two security guards. It was one of the deadliest attacks in recent years. (Reuters)
By Ruth Eglash and Loveday Morris September 26 at 4:51 AM
HAR ADAR, West Bank — A Palestinian shot dead an Israeli policeman and two security guards at the entrance to a settlement near Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, in one of the deadliest attacks in recent years.
The attacker, from the neighboring Palestinian village, was also killed, police said. Another Israeli was seriously injured and transferred to hospital.
The militant group Hamas praised the attack, calling it a “new chapter” in Jerusalem’s intifada, but did not claim responsibility.
The 37-year-old attacker had a work permit and was crossing from his village of Beit Surik through the security checkpoint to Har Adar just after 7 a.m. when he opened fire, residents and security officials said. The settlement — a wealthy community of luxury villas overlooking Jerusalem established in the 1980s — has a special arrangement that allows around 100 workers to cross inside each day without going through the main West Bank checkpoints.
The attack came just three days before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, when security forces were already on high alert. Israel has suffered from a spate of attacks over the past two years in what has been dubbed the “knife intifada” but has also included shootings and car-rammings.
Speaking at the scene, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the process of issuing permits would be reexamined during a security meeting on Tuesday, and Israeli authorities would consider sealing off the West Bank for the remainder of the Jewish holidays, which run until mid-October.
“There is no way to know how to prevent the next attack so Israel needs to tighten its security in order to protect its civilians,” he said. He blamed Palestinian “incitement” for the attack.
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Palestinians say such attacks are caused by frustration stemming from 50 years of occupation. The attacker’s village was on lockdown on Tuesday morning and Israeli special forces officers could be seen coming in and out. The attacker was married with four children, according neighbors, who said he was having marital problems and his wife had left for Jordan.
“Most of the people who lived here knew him,” “said Yitzhak Rabihya, a resident of Har Adar. “This is why it’s such a surprise here.”
He said the community was proud of its efforts at “coexistence.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the house of the attacker would be destroyed.
PHOTO: Israeli security personnel and emergency services gather at the site of the attack at the settlement of Har Adar. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images