A Palestinian man shot and killed three Israeli security officers at the entrance to a West Bank settlement on Tuesday morning, Israel police said.
Tuesday’s attack is one of the deadliest outbursts of violence in months, and comes during the Jewish holiday season.
The 37-year-old attacker attempted to enter the affluent Har Hadar settlement north-west of Jerusalem through a back entrance along with a group of Palestinian labourers who work in the settlement, Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
The assailant, named as Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, had a permit to work in the settlement. He “raised suspicions” of the border police officers and security guards at the entrance who attempted to detain him, after which the assailant drew a pistol and opened fire from short range, Samri said.
Jamal, from the nearby West Bank town of Beit Surik, was subsequently shot and killed by Israeli security personnel.
A 19-year-old Israeli border police officer was killed in the incident along with two private security guards.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was the result of “systematic incitement” from the Palestinian Authority government.
“While we are still investigating the event and its implications, we can say some things with certainty even now. One – the home of the terrorist will be demolished.
“Two – the IDF has already cordoned off the village. Three – all work permits for members of the terrorist’s extended family are hereby revoked,” Netanyahu said at the opening of a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Some Israeli politicians are calling for the permit process, by which thousands of Palestinians are allowed to work in Israel and Israeli settlements, to be revised after Tuesday’s attack.
Following the attack, Jamal’s hometown and the surrounding area were sealed off on Tuesday by the Israeli army pending “security checks” an army spokeswoman said.
In a statement the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, said that Jamal had a history of “significant personal and family problems, including those regarding family violence.”
Meanwhile the Palestinian militant group Hamas praised the attack attack saying it shows “the relationship between the occupation is not a relationship of coexistence but a relationship of armed resistance.”
In a largely uncoordinated wave of violent attacks that began more than two years ago, more than 40 Israelis and around 300 Palestinians have been killed.
Most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out shooting, car-ramming and knife attacks, Israeli authorities say.
Israel blames Palestinian leaders and media for inciting towards violence, while Palestinians say that 50 years of Israeli military rule motivates such attacks. (NAN)