JERUSALEM — A Palestinian man opened fire at Israeli security personnel at a West Bank checkpoint northwest of Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, killing three people and wounding a fourth.
The attacker, a resident of the area in his 30s, was armed with a pistol, according to the police, and was fatally shot at the scene.
The police said the victims included a border police officer, Sgt. Solomon Gavria, 20, and two civilian security guards. One was identified as Yusuf Othman of the nearby Arab-Israeli village of Abu Gosh.
The checkpoint, on the edge of Har Adar, an affluent Israeli community that straddles the 1967 line and that is mostly in the occupied West Bank, is used daily by scores of Palestinians from neighboring villages who cross into the area to work.
The assailant, who came from the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Surik, aroused the suspicion of the Israeli border police officers and security guards as he approached the checkpoint, and they ordered him to stop, according to the police. The suspect then pulled out a pistol and fired at them at short range, the police said.
Dozens of Israelis have been killed in a wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car ramming attacks that broke out two years ago, but this latest assault interrupted several weeks of relative calm.
In a spate of violence in late July prompted by renewed tensions over a Jerusalem holy site, three members of an Israeli family were fatally stabbed in their home in another West Bank settlement, and four Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in and around Jerusalem.
While most of the assailants have been young, single Palestinians, often unemployed, the gunman in Tuesday’s attack did not fit that profile. According to Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, the man, who was not immediately identified, was married with four children and held a permit allowing him to work in the Israeli communities in the area.
The assailant was well known in Har Adar, according to Israeli radio reports, and was supposed to work Tuesday in the home of a member of the local council.
Residents of Har Adar told Israel’s Army Radio that the attacker had had personal problems, with his wife recently leaving him and going to Jordan.
The area around Har Adar is known as a patchwork of peaceful and cooperative communities. Many Palestinians enter the area to work in home renovations, hotels and other service jobs in Nataf, Maaleh Hahamisha, Qiryat Anavim and other Israeli communities.
Israeli Jews flock to Abu Gosh, which sits on the Israeli side of the line, on weekends to shop and eat in the restaurants there.
Issa Jaber, the council head of Abu Gosh, described the area on Israeli television as “a model of coexistence.”
“This event will only strengthen our relations,” he said.