Nov 29, 2021

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Three Israelis were killed and one critically injured by a Palestinian gunman in a shocking terror attack Tuesday morning outside Har Adar, a Jewish community near Jerusalem.

According to police, the terrorist, a laborer from the nearby Arab village Bayt Surik, arrived with a group of Palestinian workers at the rear entrance to the Har Adar settlement just before 7 a.m. He aroused the suspicion of Israeli security officers on the scene, who called on him to stop. Instead, the terrorist took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the officers.

The terrorist mortally wounded a Border Police officer and two private security guards and seriously injured a fourth victim, the community’s security coordinator, before being gunned down and killed.

Border Police officer Solomon Gavriyah  (Israel Police)

United Hatzalah emergency services treated the four victims. The three men who had sustained fatal injuries were quickly pronounced dead at the scene. All three were in their 20s. The Border Police officer was identified as Solomon Gabriyeh, 20, from Be’er Yaakov.

The fourth victim, who suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach, was evacuated to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. He arrived fully conscious and was taken to an operating room for surgery. According to media reports, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Israeli media identified the terrorist as a 37-year-old father of four with a valid work permit allowing him to enter Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. It is rare for an Arab with a legal work permit to commit terror attacks, and the Shin Bet security service said that he did not have a history of involvement with terror groups.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said in response to queries about the man’s terror activities, “To my regret there is no profile for a terrorist.”

“It could just be someone who is fed up with everything and decides to take out his rage in an attack,” he said. “The incitement is constant.”

He said that the terrorist was “known” to the security guards who greeted the Arab workers every morning.

According to Har Adar resident Martin Blackham, hundreds of Arab laborers enter the settlement every day, mostly to work in construction. “It’s arranged by security forces that they come in and do the work, and they have a monopoly,” he explained to Breaking Israel News. “They come in at a lower price, and it’s difficult to find other people to do that work.”

While the Arab laborers are “mostly okay,” and some of them are “very nice people,” Blackham continued, their presence is often a concern.

“It’s always an issue having that many people come who are going to a mosque where they’re told to kill Jews,” he said.

Blackham has lived in the settlement since 2011 and heard the incident occur, about half a mile from his home.

“It was multiple gunshots so it was unusual. You normally get gunshots going off when you’re near the Green Line and near Arab villages because of weddings and stuff, so it’s not unusual to hear gunshots,” he said.

“But this morning it was unusual because there were multiple gunshots and they were being fired not far from here and it sounded to and fro, someone was shooting at someone else, very close to where I was standing, and then it was quiet and then all the security vehicles started arriving.”

The scene of the terror attack at the entrance of Har Hadar, September 26, 2017. (United Hatzalah)

While the community is shocked by what happened, Blackham says the people of Har Adar are resilient and resolute in the face of terror. “People just go on with their work, really,” he said, noting that the only time the atmosphere in the community had been really affected was during 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense, when Hamas fired hundreds of rockets towards Israeli civilian areas.

A Har Adar resident who had employed the terrorist in her home told Channel 10 that she was “shocked” by the attack, describing a friendly relationship with the man, with whom she had spent time alone in her home, talking and drinking coffee on breaks. She said he had been under stress in recent months due to a strained marriage.

In response to the attack, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “We are united in the war effort against the murderers and the people who support them. We send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones today and our wishes for a speedy and full recovery to the wounded man. And praise for our security and rescue forces for the way they administered the attack in Har Adar.”

On the other side, the Hamas terror group praised the attack and called for more violence. “The Jerusalem operation is a new episode in the Jerusalem uprising and a confirmation from the youth that it will continue to fight for the full freedom of the people and the land,” declared Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem.