Six Israelis wounded in West Bank settlement shooting

Gunman was shot after attack near shopping mall in Maale Adumim, which left two people seriously injured

Israeli police inspect the site of a shooting attack in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim on Tuesday. AP
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A gunman injured six Israelis, two of them seriously, in an attack in the settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

The shooting took place near a shopping mall in the settlement, which has a population of about 40,000 and is about 7km east of Jerusalem.

The gunman was shot dead by a police officer while trying to flee, Israeli media reported.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified him as Muhannad Al Mazraa, 20, from Azariya, a town east of Jerusalem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The attack in Maale Adumim, which like other Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory is considered illegal under international law, comes amid heightened Palestinian-Israel tension after an increase in violence from both sides since last year.

The Islamic militant groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad praised the attack as “heroic” but did not claim responsibility.

In an audio clip purportedly recorded by the assailant and shared on social media, he vowed to “die for the sake of Allah” and asks that his attack “not be claimed by any political faction”.

“This operation is a natural response to the storming of the sacred Al Aqsa Mosque,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salami said.

He was referring to a visit to the Jerusalem holy site by hardline Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and thousands of other Jews last week.

The compound has long been a flashpoint for violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Violence in the occupied West Bank intensified early last year when Israel launched near-nightly raids into Palestinian areas in response to attacks against Israelis.

The violence has surged this year, with more than 160 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to an AP tally.

Israel claims most of the dead have been militants, but youths throwing stones during protests against the raids and others not involved in the violence have also been killed.

At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis during that time.

Washington condemned the attack in Maale Adumim and said it was worried about the escalating tension in the region.

"We are deeply concerned by the rising levels of violence in the West Bank in recent months and condemn all acts of violence," the US State Department's bureau of Near Eastern Affairs said on X, formerly Twitter.

Updated: August 02, 2023, 5:08 AM