A Border Police officer and two Israeli security guards were killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank settlement of Har Adar, near Jerusalem, on Tuesday morning. Another Israeli, the security coordinator of Har Adar, sustained serious injuries. The 37-year-old Palestinian attacker was shot dead.
The Israeli army arrested three Palestinians in the West Bank village of Beit Sourik in connection to the attack. Local residents told Haaretz the assailant's brother was also arrested.
The officer killed was named as First Sgt. Solomon Gabariya, 20, from Beer Yaakov. He is survived by his parents, two sisters and a brother. The security guards killed were identified as Youssef Ottman, a resident of the village of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, and Or Arish, 25, from Har Adar.
An initial investigation indicates that the assailant, Namir Mahmoud, arrived with a group of Palestinian workers at the back entrance to the settlement. Border Police officers who deemed Mahmoud suspicous asked him to stop, at which point he pulled out a gun from under his shirt and opened fire. Security personnel shot back, killing the attacker.
In response, Hamas spokesman Hazzam Qassam said that "the terror attack in the Jerusalem area is a new chapter in the Al-Quds intifada that proved all attempt to Judaize the city will not change the fact that Jerusalem is an Arab and Islamic city, whose residents and tourists will redeem in blood or life."
Mahmoud, a father of four, is a resident of the Beit Surik village in the northern West Bank who had a permit to work in settlements. The IDF imposed a closure on the village following the attack, and resident will be allowed to leave only on humanitarian grounds.
Mahmoud had significant personal and family problem, including domestic violence. His wife had fled to Jordan recently and left him with his children, the Shin Bet security services said. In a message, he asked his wife to post on Facebook and asked for forgiveness, writing that he understands the gravity of what he was about to do and asked her to take care of their children.
The fact that the attacker had a work permit and successfully passed vetting by the Israeli security services made this an unusual case: During the terror wave that began in October 2015, there has been only one similar incident.
The Israeli security services have claimed that Palestinian labor in Israel and in the settlements helps ease tensions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Tuesday's government meeting that the attack "is a result of incitement by the Palestinian Authority." Netanyahu said he expects Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to denounce the attack "and not try to justify it."
According to Netanyahu, Israel will demolish the terrorist's house, impose a closure on his village and revoke the work permits of his extended family.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel said in a statement that "we condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack in Har Adar," adding that "we also condemn statements glorifying terrorism and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated."
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a statement after the attack: “I condemn this morning’s shooting attack by a Palestinian perpetrator in the Har Adar settlement ... My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all victims and I hope for a full and speedy recovery of the wounded.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that IDF and security forces are now operating in the terrorist’s village.
“We will continue to act with strength and determination against this terrorism. We will pursue the terrorists, those who send them and those who incite all the time and everywhere, and we will strike back at them, as occurs almost every night,” added Lieberman.
“The Palestinian Authority continues to incite to murder Jews and glorify and praise murderers, and this is the main reason the atmosphere of incitement in the media and social networks that leads to terrorist attacks against the citizens of Israel.”
“There is no difference between Palestinian terrorism, which is fed and fueled in an institutional manner, and the radical Islamic terrorism, which carried out terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere in the world,” he said.