Four people were killed and five were wounded Thursday, one of them seriously, in a terror shooting attack claimed by Hamas at the entrance to Jerusalem, police and medics said.
One of those killed was a civilian who fired at the terrorists and was mistaken by other responders for one of the shooters.
The victims were named later as Livia Dikman, 24, Ashdod rabbinical judge Elimelech Wasserman, 73, and Hannah Ifergan, who was in her 60s. The civilian hit by friendly fire was named as Yuval Doron Castleman, 38.
According to police, at around 7:40 a.m., two Palestinian gunmen got out of a vehicle on Weizmann Boulevard at the main entrance to the capital and opened fire at people at a bus stop.
Police said two off-duty soldiers and an armed civilian in the area returned fire, killing the two terrorists. Both soldiers had been on a break from fighting in the Gaza Strip, and were heading back to the front line when the attack occurred.
Footage from the attack showed the off-duty soldiers approaching and shooting at the gunmen as they attempted to return to their car. The armed civilian, Castleman, was seen approaching the terrorists’ car from the other side of the road and also shooting at the terrorists.
The two soldiers then opened fire at Castleman, mistaking him for another assailant. Another clip showed him on the ground with his hands in the air, and as he got up, the soldiers fired at him again.
“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” Castleman was heard saying to the soldiers.
Surveillance camera footage shows the shooting attack at the entrance to Jerusalem this morning. Two people were killed, and at least seven others were hurt. Two off-duty soldiers and an armed civilian shot the terrorists dead. pic.twitter.com/CwucVb5IV7
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) November 30, 2023
The Mevasseret Zion resident was critically wounded and later declared dead.
The terrorists were named as brothers Murad Nemer, 38, and Ibrahim Nemer, 30, residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher. According to the Shin Bet security agency, the pair were Hamas members and previously jailed for terror activity.
Murad was jailed between 2010 and 2020 for planning terror attacks under directions of terror elements in the Gaza Strip and Ibrahim was jailed in 2014 for undisclosed terror activity, the agency said.
On Thursday afternoon, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and hailed the perpetrators as “jihad-waging martyrs.”
المجاهدان القساميان منفذا عملية مستوطنة راموت التي أدت لمقتل 3 مستوطنين وإصابة 12.
الشهيد مراد نمر (38 عامًا) من صور باهر أسير محرر أمضى 10 أعوام في سجون الاحتلال (2010-2020) بتهمة الانتماء للقسام وهو ابن الكتلة الإسلامية في جامعة البوليتكنك.
وشقيقه الأسير المحرر إبراهيم نمر. pic.twitter.com/PeY5MbhwZj
— yaseenizeddeen (@yaseenizeddeen) November 30, 2023
The terror group said that the assault came in response to Israel’s war against it in Gaza and the killing of two children in the West Bank’s Jenin on Wednesday. Adam al-Ghoul, 8, and Basel Abu al-Wafa, 15, as well as two senior terror commanders, were killed yesterday by Israeli forces in Jenin. Hamas claimed 15-year-old al-Wafa as one of its members.
The terror group also called for an “escalation of resistance” and said that “the heroes of our people are mobilizing to avenge the blood of the martyrs.”
Footage of the attack showed that the terrorists were armed with an M-16 assault rifle and a handgun. A police search of the vehicle found large amounts of ammunition.
Police said officers were searching the area to rule out any additional attackers.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service said its medics declared the death of 24-year-old Dikman at the scene, and were taking eight others to hospitals in Jerusalem. Wasserman and Ifergan were later declared dead at a hospital in Jerusalem, along with Castleman.
Another victim was listed in serious condition, three in moderate condition, and one in good condition, according to MDA.
— גלצ (@GLZRadio) November 30, 2023
Police, meanwhile, said officers raided the home of the two Hamas terrorists and arrested six of their family members, including their parents.
They were to be questioned by police and the Shin Bet for their suspected involvement or knowledge of the attack.
The bus stop was the scene of a deadly bomb attack almost exactly a year ago.
Separately on Thursday, two reservist soldiers were lightly hurt in a car-ramming attack at a checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Troops at the scene shot the suspected Palestinian assailant dead.
Thursday’s attacks came as a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip was holding for the sixth day.
Tensions in Israel and the West Bank have been high since October 7, when some 3,000 terrorists burst through the Gaza border into Israel in a Hamas-led attack, killing at least 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and seizing some 240 hostages.
Israel responded with an aerial campaign and subsequent ground operation with the goal of destroying Hamas and ending its 16-year rule over Gaza, and securing the release of the hostages.
The IDF has continued to operate throughout the West Bank and police have been on high alert in Israel, in light of concerns about a possible escalation of violence following the release of Palestinian security prisoners in the exchange for abducted Israeli hostages.
Gianluca Pacchiani contributed to this report.