by News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
Prime Minister Netanyahu blames "systematic Palestinian incitement," vows to demolish terrorist's home.
Israeli security officers seen through a window shattered by bullets at the entrance to Har Adar near Jerusalem, Tuesday Photo: AP
A Palestinian terrorist opened fire early Tuesday at the entrance to the Har Adar settlement outside Jerusalem, killing three Israelis and critically wounding a fourth in one of the deadliest attacks in a two-year spate of violence.
One of the victims, a border policeman, was named as Solomon Gavriyah, 20, from Be'er Yaakov. He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant. Another victim was identified as Youssef Ottman, a resident of the nearby Arab Israeli community of Abu Ghosh, who had been working as a security guard. The third casualty, also a security guard, was later identified as Or Arish, a 25-year-old resident of Har Adar.
Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers praised the attack but stopped short of taking responsibility for it. Israeli officials said the attacker was a 37-year-old Palestinian father of four who appeared to have acted alone.
The attack comes at a tense period amid the Jewish high holidays and is likely to complicate the mediation efforts of U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt who had just arrived in the region for meetings with Israeli and Palestinians leaders.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused "systematic Palestinian incitement” for the attack and said he expected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to "condemn this attack and not try to justify it."
The prime minister also vowed that "the home of the terrorist will be demolished. The IDF is already surrounding the terrorist's village and revoking the work permits of his extended family.”
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the attacker approached the back gate entrance of the Har Adar settlement, hiding among dozens of Palestinian day laborers who were being checked by security forces.
The man aroused police suspicion and was asked to stop, Samri said. At that point, he pulled out a weapon and opened fire from close range. The attacker, who held a valid permit to work in Israel, was then shot dead by other forces at the scene.
The Magen David Adom emergency medical service said that in addition to the three killed, a fourth Israeli man, 32, was evacuated to hospital in critical condition.
Shay Retter, the head of Har Adar's security committee, said that between 100 and 150 Palestinian laborers typically enter the community each day for work. Local residents said they knew the attacker from previous work he had carried out in the community and were shocked to hear what he had done.
The military imposed a closure on the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Surik, the home of the attacker.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he saw no difference between Palestinian terrorism and radical Islamic terrorism targeting sites in Europe and elsewhere. "Before talking about any kind of negotiations, the world must demand of the Palestinian Authority to stop its incitement and encouragement of terror," he said, alluding to Greenblatt's visit and his goal of securing Israeli concessions toward the Palestinians.
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz was even blunter. "The attack is also a message to U.S. special envoy Greenblatt," he said. "Israel's security was and yet remains the supreme consideration in the government's policy, and is above any other consideration of improving and easing the lives of the Palestinians."
Israel's Shin Bet security service downplayed ideology as a motive, saying the attacker was plagued with personal problems. The attacker was identified as Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal and the Shin Bet said its preliminary investigation indicated there was significant violence in his family. His wife had recently fled to Jordan and left him with their four children, it said.
News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff
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