By Moustafa Haboosh
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Two Palestinian groups said Sunday a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank that killed an Israeli settler was a “response ” to Israeli assaults against the Palestinians.
In a statement, Palestinian group Hamas described the attack as “heroic “, saying it came to respond to Israeli violations and assaults in East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“This operation confirms that resistance in all its forms remains the most powerful option to deter the [Israeli] occupation and thwart its schemes, ” the group said.
The Israeli army said a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier at the entrance of the Ariel settlement in the northern West Bank before stealing his weapon.
According to a military statement, the attacker then drove his car to the Gitai Avishar junction and opened fire on Israelis at a bus station.
Israel's national emergency agency, Megan David Adom, said one Israeli was killed and three others critically injured in the attack.
“We bless the operation that corrects the direction of the compass and moves the battle to its natural and real field, ” Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad group, said in a statement.
Sunday's attack came amid rising tension in Jerusalem since last month when Israeli police briefly sealed the Al-Aqsa Mosque's Rahma Gate, sparking angry Palestinian demonstrations.
In the weeks since, the Israeli authorities have banned scores of Palestinians — including religious officials — from entering the Al-Aqsa, which for Muslims represents the world’s third holiest site.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.