Female soldier killed, guard badly hurt in shooting at East Jerusalem checkpoint

Hamas praises attack in Shuafat, blames ‘incursions into Al-Aqsa’; 3 suspects arrested, shooter at large; police minister says he will be captured ‘alive or dead’

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack at a checkpoint outside the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, October 8, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack at a checkpoint outside the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, October 8, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A female soldier was killed and a guard seriously wounded in a shooting attack at the checkpoint near the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on Saturday night.

The two were rushed to a hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment after the attack, according to police and medics.

The soldier’s death was declared at the hospital, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The military announced her death hours after the attack, after her family had been notified. There were no further details about her identity.

Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem said Sunday morning that the guard had been operated on overnight by neurosurgeons and remained in severe condition on a ventilator.

The Palestinian gunman apparently arrived by vehicle and fired at security forces at the checkpoint around 9 p.m. before fleeing into the nearby refugee camp.

Two Border Police officers were lightly injured by shrapnel in the shooting.

Video released Sunday appeared to show the man casually getting out of a white vehicle at the checkpoint and walking over to a group of soldiers and guards. He opens fire from point-blank range with a handgun, hitting two of them as the others dive for cover.

He carries on firing at one person on the ground and then turns and runs away before any of the other soldiers at the checkpoint can react.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack at a checkpoint outside the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, October 8, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Police said three suspects had been arrested. The suspects were in their 20s and from Shuafat and Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem and Anata in the West Bank.

Three members of the suspected shooter’s family were also arrested in Shuafat, Army Radio reported.

A man suspected of driving the gunman turned himself in to police and is not believed to have been an accomplice.

The driver claimed he was giving the shooter a ride to Modi’in when the attacker got out of the vehicle at the checkpoint and fired at least seven rounds, before his weapon jammed.

Security forces raided the Shuafat refugee camp after the attack in search for the shooter and two other suspects. Special forces units and a helicopter took part in the manhunt. Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman said the identity of three suspects was known to police.

The Gaza-based Hamas terror group said it “blessed the heroic operation,” calling the shooting “a reaction to the incursions into al-Aqsa and the aggression by the occupation today against Jenin.” Earlier Saturday, two Palestinians were killed during an arrest operation by the IDF in Jenin, a city in the West Bank.

“These operations carry a message that the revolt of our people is in progress and will not subside and that the operations, shootings, and gunfire of our youth in revolt will haunt the occupiers and herds of settlers everywhere in response to their crimes and their incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas said but did not explicitly claim responsibility for the attack.

Photos from the scene of the shooting showed blood smeared across a section of paving stones and pavement next to a guard booth, as police closed off the area with red tape and collected evidence.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who arrived on the scene alongside top police officials, said security forces “will lay their hands on the attacker, alive or dead.”

Prime Minister Yair Lapid denounced the “grave” attack and his office said he was being briefed on the shooting.

“The heart is with the wounded and their families. Terror will not defeat us — we are strong, even on this difficult evening,” Lapid said in a statement.

The scene of a shooting attack at a checkpoint outside the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, October 8, 2022. (Flash90)

Celebratory fireworks were reported in Shuafat after the shooting.

The incident comes as military and police are on heightened alert in Jerusalem and the West Bank over the Jewish holiday season. The Prime Minister’s Office said that over Shabbat, Lapid held a security assessment ahead of the start of the Sukkot festival Sunday evening “with an emphasis on the deployment of forces in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, as well as elsewhere across the country.”

Tensions were already high due to an ongoing anti-terror campaign in the West Bank that has seen over 100 Palestinians killed and more than 2,000 arrested in nightly raids, during which Israeli troops have regularly been targeted by gunfire. Most of those killed were gunmen 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 the beginning of May.

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