Six Israelis were shot and wounded, one of them seriously, in a terror attack in the West Bank settlement city of Ma’ale Adumim on Tuesday afternoon, police and medical officials said.
According to law enforcement officials, the Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a group of people, including diners at a burger restaurant, in a plaza outside a main shopping mall in the settlement, before being shot dead by an off-duty police officer while attempting to flee the scene.
The Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service said one of the victims, a man in his 40s, was listed in serious condition. Four victims — a 14-year-old boy and men aged 28, 29 and 37 — were listed in moderate condition, MDA said. Another man in his 20s was lightly hurt, according to hospital officials.
The six were taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem for treatment.
Police said an off-duty Border Police officer, who was about to get a haircut at a nearby barbershop, heard gunfire and shouting. He rushed to the scene to search for the terrorist, who had fled.
“The terrorist started shooting at the officer,” police said, adding that he engaged with the gunman and killed him.
Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and the head of the Border Police, Deputy Commissioner Brik Yitzhak, headed to the scene, where they spoke with the officer who shot the terrorist.
“I saw a man wearing a reflective vest with a handgun. I wasn’t sure yet if this was the terrorist. I called on him to stop and cocked my gun. He didn’t stop and started to open fire at me. The moment he fired at me I realized it was the terrorist,” the officer told Shabtai.
Speaking to the press, Shabtai said the terrorist “opened fire in all directions,” and the officer “prevented a broader terror attack.”
Footage showed the terrorist, wearing a fluorescent yellow vest, opening fire at people from within bushes behind a bus stop, then fleeing down a road, where he was shot by the Border Police officer.
Footage shows the shooting attack in Maaleh Adumim, and the moment the terrorist, wearing a yellow vest, was shot dead by a Border Police officer. pic.twitter.com/p2r4jiJEZS
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) August 1, 2023
A worker at the burger restaurant described the moment of the terror attack to the Kan public broadcaster.
“The terrorist was standing outside [the restaurant] and fired two or three shots, hitting one of my customers,” Ravid, who works at Burgers Bar, said. “Another bullet flew by my face and hit the wall.”
Another one of the victims in the attack was the barber of the officer who killed the terrorist.
Speaking to reporters from his hospital bed, Moshe Turgeman said he was cutting a customer’s hair when the officer — one of his regulars — came in. “He just sat down. We heard gunfire and saw people running outside,” he recalled.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 1, 2023
Turgeman said the two then went searching for the terrorist, and at one point apparently passed by the gunman without realizing it was him, noting the fluorescent vest he was wearing.
Turgeman said people then yelled from nearby buildings that the man in the vest was the attacker, leading them to double back after him.
“He shot me, he succeeded in hitting me in the hand,” Turgeman said, “and [shot] another guy near me in the leg.”
רץ במורד הרחוב ופותח באש על עוברי אורח: תיעוד פיגוע הירי במעלה אדומים | בלעדי
— חדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) August 1, 2023
“The heroic Border Police officer just took him out in a few seconds. We got out miraculously,” he added.
Speaking with Channel 12, the unidentified, off-duty Border cop said he had arrived at the barbershop when he first heard the gunshots and saw people running. He rushed to the scene and saw the attacker. “At first I wasn’t sure if he was the terrorist, but I cocked my weapon and yelled at him to freeze. He didn’t and started shooting at me,” the officer said, adding that he quickly returned fire and neutralized the attacker.
The terrorist was identified by the Shin Bet security agency as 20-year-old Mohannad Muhammad Suleiman al-Mazra’a, from the nearby West Bank town of al-Azariya.
The Shin Bet said al-Mazra’a, who worked as a cleaner at a local community center in Ma’ale Adumim, had a permit to work in West Bank settlements, but not in Israel proper.
⭕ صورة | الشاب مهند محمد سليمان المزارعة (20 عاماً) الذي ارتقى برصاص الاحتلال بعد تنفيذ عملية في مستوطنة "معاليه أدوميم". pic.twitter.com/6siPSJIp30
— إذاعة الأقصى – عاجل (@Alaqsavoice_Brk) August 1, 2023
In an unverified recording circulating on Palestinian social media and attributed to al-Mazra’a, the speaker claims to not be affiliated with any faction. The terrorist allegedly recorded his “will” as a 95-second voice note before committing the shooting attack.
In the audio file, whose origin could not be independently verified, the man quoted several Quranic verses and hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), saying that if he dies “in the name of Allah” and the Israelis take his body, “it won’t matter.” He demanded that when he is buried, no funeral be held for him and no name be engraved on his tombstone.
The Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas issued a press statement shortly after the terror attack, congratulating al-Mazra’a and calling the shooting “heroic and daring.”
In a separate statement, Mahmoud Mardawi, a Hamas official, claims that the shooting was in response to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s latest visit to Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av last Thursday.
“The protectors of Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa always have their finger on the trigger, and will not miss an opportunity to pounce on the enemy,” Mardawi said.
Meanwhile, the deputy mayor of Ma’ale Adumim said the West Bank settlement city would bar the entry of Palestinian workers until further notice, following the terror attack.
“At the moment there is no entry of workers into the city until further notice. All construction sites in the city were immediately evacuated,” Guy Yifrah said in a statement.
At the time of the terror attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant were holding an assessment at the IDF Central Command headquarters in Jerusalem, which is responsible for military activities in the West Bank.
A statement from Netanyahu’s office said the two were receiving updates on the shooting.
Several hours after the shooting attack, a Palestinian man allegedly attempted to stab Israeli soldiers in the southern West Bank, before being shot, the military said.
Later Tuesday, the State Department issued a statement “unequivocally condemn[ing]” the Ma’ale Adumim terror attack, adding that it is “deeply concerned by the rising levels of violence in the West Bank in recent months and condemn all acts of violence.”
After the attack, a group of youths boarded buses from Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem and shouted racist slogans including “death to Arabs” at the bus drivers, many of whom are Arabs.
The drivers stopped the buses on the side of the road, and the youths dismounted and threw objects at the vehicles. Police opened an investigation into the incident, the Ynet news site reported.
Tensions have remained high in the West Bank, with the military carrying out near-nightly raids amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank that have killed 25 people since the beginning of the year.
According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 161 West Bank Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year — most of them during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances.
Gianluca Pacchiani, Jacob Magid and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report