by Andrew Friedman/TPS
Three men were killed and one seriously wounded Tuesday when a Palestinian man opened fire at the worker’s entry gate to Har Adar, a Jewish community in the Yerushalayim corridor about 20 kilometers west of the capital. The wounded man was evacuated to Hadassah University Hospital – Ein Karem in critical condition but is expected to survive.
The murdered are, twenty-year-old Border Police officer Solomon Gavriyah of Be’er Yaakov, 25-year-old Youssef Ottman, a security guard from the nearby Arab Israeli community of Abu Ghosh, and Or Arish, 25, of Har Adar. The wounded man is the town’s chief of security.
Gavriyah survived a terror attack a year ago but insisted on re-joining the Border Police after recovering.
The attacker, 37-year-old Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, a father of four from the village of Beit Sureik, near Ramallah, had a work permit and had worked in Har Adar for seven years.
The attack occurred shortly after 7:00 am when security guards opened the worker’s gate into the community on the outskirts of the town. The terrorist apparently approached the gate and aroused the suspicion of security personnel before pulling out a pistol and opening fire. Paramedics who arrived at the scene said they treated the injured man for gunshot wounds to the stomach, but said they could not help the other three victims.
Residents of Har Adar said security in the community is provided by a combination of police, IDF and Border Police soldiers, as well as private security guards hired and funded by local residents.
“Every day at about 7:00, security forces and private security guards open the gate for Arab and Palestinian workers who work here in the village. Unfortunately one of the workers shot three security guards and a Border Police soldier,” said Itzhak Rabihiya.
“The whole village is shocked, we have a very good relationship with Palestinian workers who work here – of course they come here after a security check… Although for 20 years we have lived together and thought we were secure, we see today that there is no place we are secure, Ravyihye told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Har Adar council head Chen Filibovitch praised both IDF and local security detail, saying their quick response prevented the terrorist from entering the town and killing more people.
“Let me stress that this incident did not happen inside Har Adar, but rather at the workers’ entrance to the town. Police and Border Police are here sweeping the community and checking things out and schools and kindergartens in Har Adar are operating normally. “Dozens of workers come into Har Adar every day, we know them and have never had any problems,” Filibovitch said.
Palestinian and Israeli officials were quick to respond to the attack. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin sent condolences to the families of the victims and pledged to continue the fight against terror, and pray for the recovery of the wounded, while Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the attack the Palestinians’ “welcome present” prepared for [US President Donald Trump’s Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason] Greenblatt.
“American efforts to reignite the peace process must focus first of all on stopping Palestinian terrorism…There is no sense in having negotiations with people who support terrorism and who continue to pay salaries to the families of terrorists,” Hotovely said.
At the same time, Palestinian factions across the political spectrum praised the attack and placed the blame on Israel.
Daoud Shehab, head of the Islamic Jihad’s media office, said “the Jerusalem operation embodies the living conscience of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people, as well as rearranging the national priorities that have been mixed up and scattered over the power struggles and political acrimony… it is a practical response to the occupations actions on al-Aqsa.”
Hamas added, ‘The operation rejects the logic of begging for rights through international institutions. Our people will preserve their rights and sanctities with their own blood and spirit…”
“This is confirmation that the natural relationship with the occupation is conflict, and it can not be a relationship of coexistence.”
“This operation proves that all attempts to change the identity of Jerusalem will not pass, and that all the efforts of the occupation to falsify the facts will not change the fact that Jerusalem is Arab and Palestinian, and that our people will fight until the end to liberate it,” said an organization spokesman.
Munir al-Jagoub, a media spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group, said “Israel must be well aware of the consequences of continuing its push towards the option of violence, the policy of house demolitions, the forced displacement of Jerusalemites, and the successive incursions by the settlers’ flocks to the al-Aqsa Mosque fortresses, reinforced with their forces day and night since 1967.”
With additional reporting by Mara Vigevani, Yona Schnitzer and Ilan Evyatar
Photos and video by United Hatzalah
Video: IDF forces enter village of terrorist and are met by rioters and stone throwers