Palestinian gunman shot dead after killing three Israelis at West Bank settlement checkpoint
A Palestinian opened fire at Israeli security personnel at the entrance to a West Bank settlement northwest of Jerusalem on Tuesday, killing three and wounding another before being shot dead, police said.
The attack, which came as US envoy Jason Greenblatt was in Jerusalem for talks on relaunching the moribund Middle East peace process, drew condemnation from Israeli officials who demanded action from the Palestinian leadership.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the gunman, who had a permit to work in the settlement, had concealed himself among other Palestinian labourers.
“He hesitated and then all of a sudden, several metres before a security check, pulled out a nine millimetre weapon and opened fire directly at the two private security guards, who were shot and killed directly at the scene,” Rosenfeld said.
“He also opened fire to a border police officer that was also located here. And another two officers ... responded, opened fire and shot and killed that terrorist.”
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service identified the gunman as Nimer Aljamal, a 37-year-old father of four from the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Surik with no previous “security background”.
Rosenfeld described Aljamal’s profile as “very unusual” by comparison with others who have carried out lone-wolf attacks during a wave of unrest that has hit Israel and the Palestinian territories over the past two years.
The violence had greatly subsided in recent months.
He said there would have to be a security review of work permits for Palestinians to work in Israel and the settlements, with thousands granted.
The wounded Israeli was admitted to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem in serious condition, the hospital said.
Speaking at his weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was partially a result of systematic Palestinian incitement and said he expected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “condemn this attack and not try to justify it”.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the Palestinian leadership needed to take action against such attacks or there would be no point in relaunching peace talks.
“The terrible attack at Har Adar is the Palestinian reception for US envoy Jason Greenblatt,” she said.
“The American efforts must focus first of all on ending the murderous Palestinian terror.”
Hotovely renewed the Israeli government’s call for the Palestinian Authority to stop paying allowances to the families of those who lost their lives carrying out attacks.
The issue is a deeply divisive one, with many Palestinians seeing those killed carrying out attacks against the “occupation forces” as martyrs, while Israelis see them as “terrorists”.
Since October 2015, the unrest in Israel and the Palestinian territories has killed at least 295 Palestinians or Arab Israelis, 50 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP toll.