Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Israeli police say 1 killed, several injured in checkpoint shooting near Jerusalem

At least one person was killed and eight others were wounded when three gunmen opened fire at motorists close to an Israeli checkpoint near occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police have confirmed.

The head of Israel’s ambulance service, Eli Bean, told the public broadcaster Kan that two women were seriously wounded in the attack on Thursday.

Israeli police said the attackers took advantage of slow-moving morning traffic on the central highway east of Jerusalem near the Maale Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank and opened fire with automatic weapons at cars waiting near a checkpoint.

A police spokesperson stated the gunmen were Palestinians but gave no further details. Police also added two gunmen were killed and a third was arrested.

In response to the attack, far-right Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir said freedom of movement for Palestinians should be restricted.

“Our right to life overrides the Palestinians’ freedom of movement,” he said, according to Israeli media reports.

“I will fight for barriers around the villages that will limit the freedom of movement of the residents of the Palestinian Authority.”

Palestinian armed group Hamas, which governs Gaza, announced the attack was a “natural response to the [Israeli] occupation’s massacres and crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich demanded the approval of a plan to build thousands of new illegal Israeli settlements in Maale Adumim and nearby areas in response to the shooting.

“The serious attack on Maale Adumim must have a decisive security response but also an answer from the settlements,” he wrote on X.

“Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our control across the entire country.”

Tensions in the occupied West Bank have been exacerbated since Israel’s war on Gaza began on October 7 following Hamas attacks that killed 1,139 people, according to Israeli figures.

Israeli air strikes and a ground offensive in Gaza since the attacks have killed more than 29,000 Palestinians and wounded close to 70,000 people, according to Palestinian health authorities, and has reduced much of the enclave to rubble.

Last week, two people were killed by gunmen who police suspect to be Palestinians at a bus stop in southern Israel.

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