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Three Israeli officers shot dead in West Bank settlement

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Two security officers and a border policeman were murdered Tuesday morning in a suspected terror attack in the town of Har Adar outside Jerusalem. Another Israeli was badly wounded, reported Jerusalem Post (Israel).

According to the Border Police, the Palestinian assailant approached the town's gate posing as a laborer. When the officers manning the gate grew suspicious of him because of his unusual clothing, he pulled out his weapon and opened fire.

After an exchange of gunfire, the assailant was shot dead, but not before fatally injuring three people and severely wounding one more.

Israeli media identified the attacker as a 37-year-old father of four from the Palestinian village of Beit Surik. The man is said to have a valid work permit allowing him to enter Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

It is not currently known if the assailant belonged to a terrorist organization, but Hamas has praised the attack and called for others to carry out similar ones.

The injured Israeli, the town's security chief, was rushed to hospital for treatment.

The village from which the attacker came from, located about a kilometer away from Har Adar has been placed under a military closure.

One of the killed was a border police officer and the other two were private security guards. Their names are under a gag order.

Israel's police superintendent Roni Alsheich said the actions of the security officers prevented a far more serious outcome.

One of the first responders on the scene was Moshir Abu Katish, a Muslim volunteer EMT with United Hatzalah who lives in the neighboring Arab-Israeli town of Abu Gosh.

"I raced over to the scene which took place near the fence of Har Adar. Security forces had shot and killed the terrorist who had carried out a shooting attack against a group of Israelis," Abu Katish said. "I ran to treat the injured people who were suffering from gunshot wounds to their upper bodies. Unfortunately, the three more seriously injured people in the attack were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth person who was injured we treated at the scene before he was transported to the hospital for further treatment and observation."

Dov Baksht, the commander of the Zaka rescue and recovery organization who was at the scene of the terror attack said “This is a very difficult attack, a terrorist opened fire at close range on four Israelis. The outcome is very bad, with three Israelis killed and the body of the terrorist. The ZAKA team at the scene has three ambulances to evacuate the murdered victims and ZAKA volunteers are working to collect the remains.” Baksht added “The forensics teams from the Israel Police are currently working on the scene. We are waiting until they have completed their work and then we will enter the scene once again to complete our sacred work.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin responded to the attack, saying the nation's hearts are with the families of the victims. "The brutal terror attack exposes once again the daily reality that Israeli security forces, who are on the front lines, have to deal with," said Rivlin. "We will continue to confront terror and put our hands on the attackers and their backers."

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said there were no prior indications about the assailant's deadly motivations. He placed responsibility for the attack at the feet of the Palestinian Authority, which he said encourages terror with its policy of handing out stipends to terrorists and their family members.

***

Three Israelis have been shot and killed, and a fourth wounded, in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, Israeli army radio reported and published Al Jazeera (Qatar).

The station interviewed a resident of Har Adar, an illegal settlement near Jerusalem, who said the gunman had arrived with a group of Palestinian labourers and opened fire on paramilitary Israeli police guards.

The gunman was shot and killed after the attack, according to Israeli police.
Har Adar is an upscale settlement west of Jerusalem, on the border between the West Bank and Israel.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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