Hamas “welcomed” an attack by a Palestinian police officer on Monday that injured three Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Ramallah, and called on Palestinian security personnel to carry out more attacks.
“We welcome the heroic operation carried out by the martyr officer Muhammad Turkman,” the terror group said it a statement. “We consider [the attack] a strong message in the face of Israeli crimes.”
While Hamas usually praises attacks against Israelis — whether civilians or soldiers — the terror group went a step further on Monday by specifically calling for more members of the Palestinian security forces to “join the Palestinian intifada.”
The gunman was named as Muhammad Turkman, a police officer from Qabatiya, by both the official Palestinian Authority news outlet al-Hayat al-Jadida and Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories.
According to the PA outlet’s report, Turkman served in a “special forces unit.”
Palestinian media sources circulated what was reportedly of picture of Turkman in his police uniform.
— وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) October 31, 2016
According to a senior Palestinian security source, Turkman was a guard at the Palestinian parliament. After his shift, he took a gun without permission and carried out the attack, Israel Radio reported.
He approached the Focus checkpoint, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, and opened fire with his AK-47 assault rifle at the troops stationed there, the army said.
The three soldiers — all approximately 20 years old — sustained gunshot wounds to the extremities, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
One was seriously wounded in the attack, while two others sustained light injuries from shrapnel, MDA said. The condition of the seriously wounded soldier was later upgraded to “moderate.”
Turkman was the second Palestinian police officer to carry out an attack this year against Israelis. In January, Amjed Abu Amar, a 34-year-old resident of Jamma’in near Nablus, wounded three Israeli soldiers in a shooting attack at the same checkpoint near Beit El.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.