1 killed in West Bank attack on Israeli motorists; 3 gunmen 'neutralized'

Israeli emergency services remove the body of one of the victims of Thursday's shooting near Ma'ale Adumim in the West Bank. Photo by Abir Sultan/EPA-EFE

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- One person was killed during Thursday morning's rush hour in the occupied West Bank after three gunmen opened fire on cars lined up at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, authorities said.

A man in his 20s died at the scene of the shooting on Highway 1 between the West Bank town of Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem with five others rushed to area hospitals with gunshot wounds, including a 23-year-old woman who was critically injured, the Magen David Adom emergency rescue service said in a social media post.

Five others were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and shock.

Security forces shot dead two of the gunmen at the scene and tracked down and "neutralized" a third who tried to escape a short time afterward, Israel Police said in a post on X.

"The gunmen arrived by car, exited the vehicle and started shooting using automatic weapons toward vehicles standing in a traffic jam on the road toward Jerusalem," police said.

Police shared pictures of weapons they said they had captured or recovered from the scene, including assault rifles, makeshift submachine guns and a grenade, while witnesses described scenes of gunmen running between lines of stationary cars shooting and people exiting their cars and trying to flee.

That brought criticism from at least one local politician who said the traffic jams created by checkpoints at the entrance to road tunnels connecting with Jerusalem were a death trap.

"The method of the attack this morning and the exploitation of the traffic jams in the checkpoint area is the nightmare of everyone who is facing the tunnel checkpoint," Efrat Mayor Oded Ravivi said.

In November, an Israel Defense Forces soldier was killed and five people were wounded in a shooting at another tunnel checkpoint on Route 60, south of Jerusalem.

No group has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, but Hamas said it was "a natural response... to the occupation's massacres and crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."

The latest shootings come amid mounting attacks on Israelis in the West Bank that have escalated since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and Israel's military campaign in Gaza, including seven people killed in a shooting near a Jerusalem synagogue last month and two sisters shot dead in their car in April in the northern Jordan Valley.

There have also been a series of attacks inside Israel, including a shooting at a bus stop in southern Israel on Friday in which a gunman killed two people and wounded six and a car ramming in Ra'anana in central Israel in January that killed one woman and injured 17 others.