A Palestinian attacker opened fire early Tuesday at the entrance to a settlement outside Jerusalem, killing three Israeli security men and critically wounding a fourth, Israeli police and medical services said, in one of the deadliest attacks in a two-year spate of violence. Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers praised the attack as a "heroic operation" but stopped short of taking responsibility for it. Israeli officials said the attacker was a 37-year-old 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 US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who'd just arrived in the region for meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the AP reports. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says 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 suspicions and was asked to stop, Samri says. At that point, he pulled out a weapon and began firing from a short distance. The attacker, who held a valid permit to work in Israel, was then shot dead by other forces at the scene.