A female soldier was killed in a shooting attack at the Shuafat checkpoint in East Jerusalem on Saturday evening.
A guard was also seriously injured in the attack. Both were taken to a Jerusalem hospital for medical treatment after the attack, according to police and paramedics.
The soldier’s death was announced at a hospital, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
The army announced her death about five hours after the attack, after her family was informed. There were no further details on her identity. It was not immediately clear whether she died immediately or after treatment at a hospital.
The Palestinian gunman apparently arrived on foot and opened fire on security forces at the checkpoint around 9:00 p.m. before escaping to a nearby refugee camp with the help of a car.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. The Brigades are a coalition of armed groups affiliated with the ruling Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The terrorist group carried out joint attacks with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.
“This is only the beginning of a series of terrorist attacks in response to the killing of our leaders and the desecration of Al-Aqsa,” the group said in a statement. Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest shrine in Islam. It is located on the Temple Mount, the site of two ancient Jewish temples, the holiest site in Judaism. The site is a frequent flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Police said three suspects were arrested. The suspects were in their 20s and were from the West Bank towns of Shuafat and Anata and Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.
Three family members of the suspected gunman were also arrested in Shuafat, Army Radio said.
The man suspected of driving the shooter from the scene turned himself in to the police.
The driver claimed he was taking the gunman to Modi’in when the assailant got out of the vehicle at a checkpoint and fired at least seven shots before his gun jammed.
Security forces raided the Shuafat refugee camp hours after the attack in search of the gunman and two other suspects. Special forces units and a helicopter participated in the search for people. Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said the identities of the three suspects were known to the police.
The Gaza-based Hamas terror group said it “blessed the heroic operation” and described the shooting as “a response to the incursions into al-Aqsa and today’s occupation aggression against Janine”. Earlier on Saturday, two Palestinians were killed during an IDF arrest operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.
“These operations carry the message that the rebellion of our people is ongoing and will not subside and that the operations, firing and firing of our rebellious youth will everywhere pursue the occupiers and herds of settlers in response to their crimes and their incursions. to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas said.
Photos from the scene of the shooting showed blood splattered across a strip of cobblestones and pavement next to a guardhouse as police cordoned off the area and gathered evidence.
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who arrived at the scene with top police officials, said security forces would “lay hands on the attacker, dead or alive.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned the “serious” attack and his office said he had been informed of the shooting.
“Heart goes out to the injured and their families.” Terror will not defeat us – we are strong, even on this difficult evening,” Lapid said in a statement.
After the shooting, celebratory fireworks were reported in Shuafat.
The incident comes as the military and police are on high alert in Jerusalem and the West Bank during the Jewish holiday season. The prime minister’s office said that during Shabbat, Lapid conducted a security assessment ahead of the start of the Sukkot festival on Sunday night “with an emphasis on the deployment of forces in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, as well as elsewhere throughout the country.”
Tensions were already high due to the ongoing anti-terror campaign in the West Bank, which has killed over 100 Palestinians and arrested more than 2,000 in night raids during which Israeli soldiers are regularly targeted by gunfire. Most of those killed were militants or participants in violent clashes, but some were unarmed civilians.
The operation was launched after a series of attacks that killed 19 people between mid-March and early May.