A terror attack on security personnel at the rear entrance of the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem has left three Israeli security officers dead and one seriously injured early Tuesday morning, police said.
The terrorist, reportedly a 37-year-old laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, arrived at the settlement’s back entrance and opened fire on border police officers and the community’s private guards as they were opening the entrance to Palestinian workers just before 7 a.m., according to the Times of Israel.
According to police, the assailant, who was part of the group of Palestinian workers, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene.
The man “aroused the suspicion” of officers on the scene, who called for him to stop. That was when police say he took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the Israelis before he was gunned down himself.
A Border Police officer and two private security guards, all in their twenties, were killed after being shot by the terrorist. Previous reports that they had also been stabbed were false.
The slain Border Police officer was identified as Solomon Gavriyah, 20, from Be’er Yaakov. He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.
One of the security guards killed in the attack, Youssef Ottman, 25, was a resident of the nearby Arab Israeli community of Abu Ghosh. The second was identified as Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar.
The seriously injured victim was Har Adar’s security coordinator. He suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach and chest and was fully conscious when he was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. Upon reaching the hospital, he was taken to an operating room for surgery, a Hadassah spokesperson said.
Police said the terrorist, identified as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, was the father of four and had a legal work permit, which is rare since it’s unlikely that the few Palestinians who hold such a document would commit a terror attack. However, his permit was of a lower level and was only applicable to work inside Israeli settlements, like Har Adar, which lies along the “seam line” between the West Bank and Israel, according to the Shin Bet security service.
News reports said the assailant did not have a known history of involvement in terrorist activities. The security service said Jamal appeared to be suffering from “significant personal and family problems” and that there was a history of violence in the family.
The terrorist’s wife reportedly left him several weeks ago and moved to Jordan, leaving him alone with the children. Before carrying out the attack, he left a note saying he was a “terrible husband” and that his wife had “nothing to do with what will happen,” Israel Radio reported.
In the hours after the attack, security forces raided Jamal’s home and set up a closure around Bayt Surik, allowing residents to enter freely but exit only for “humanitarian” reasons.
Har Adar is located just inside the West Bank, off the main highway leading into Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The last time the affluent community was a terror target was in October 2016, when a Border Police officer was stabbed in the arm near the settlement.
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, who arrived at the scene of the attack, said Jamal “was known to those who greet the workers in the morning.” He praised the quick response of security guards at the scene, noting, “otherwise he could have entered the town and carried on with his murderous errand.”
“Our workers and security coordinator worked as needed,” Chen Filipovitz, the head of the local council, told Channel 2 news after the attack. “It was not inside the community but at the gate where workers enter. There are hundreds of workers who enter every day to work in Har Adar and the surrounding communities.”
The Hamas terror group praised the attack, saying, “Once again Jerusalem proves that it is at the heart of the conflict with the occupation and that there is no way to get it out of the equation of the conflict.”
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