A gunman opened fire at a mall in the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim on Tuesday, wounding five Israeli settlers before being shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces.
The attack occurred around 4 p.m. local time, when the attacker approached a group of Israeli settlers at a restaurant in the mall and started shooting.
The wounded Israelis were taken to hospitals in Jerusalem for treatment. One of them was in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the chest. The others suffered light to moderate injuries.
The motive for the attack was not immediately clear, but the Israeli occupation military said it was investigating the incident and searching for possible accomplices of the gunman.
Palestinian factions praised it as a heroic act of resistance against the Israeli occupation. Hamas called it “a natural response to the crimes of the occupation and the settlers.”
The attack was the first of its kind in Ma’aleh Adumim, a large illegal settlement east of Jerusalem that is home to about 40,000 Israelis.
The attacks came amid a surge of violence in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces have killed at least 160 Palestinians, including 25 children, since January 1, according to data from Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization. The number of Palestinians killed this year is the highest for the same period since 2000, when the second intifada or uprising broke out.
Most of the deaths occurred during Israeli raids, clashes, and alleged attacks by Palestinians. Israel says it acts in self-defense and to prevent violence, but Palestinians accuse it of using excessive force and collective punishment.
The escalation of violence has been fueled by several factors, including Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, its demolition of Palestinian homes and structures, its detention and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, and its restrictions on Palestinian access to Jerusalem and its holy sites.