Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Yehuda Levi.
Three Hamas terrorists reportedly from Hebron opened fire at a checkpoint south of Jerusalem on Thursday, killing an IDF soldier and wounding another five police officers and soldiers.
Initial police investigations revealed that the terrorists were on their way to commit a much larger-scale attack in Jerusalem when their car was flagged as suspicious at the checkpoint by security personnel, who stopped the vehicle for inspection. At that point, the terrorists opened fire. The terrorists were neutralized by Israeli security forces.
"I saw a white Skoda with all its doors open, and each terrorist was outside, shooting in different directions,"
said Moshe Moalem, a civilian security guard who was injured in the attack. "All of our forces present immediately shot back. I felt a round strike my leg and looked for cover."
Moalem was spared further injury when shrapnel became embedded in his wallet, preventing it from penetrating further into his other leg.
Hamas has claimed responsibility for the attack. Israeli security agency Shin Bet has identified two of the three terrorists as belonging to Hamas, with one of them being the son of the head of Hamas' military arm in Hebron, who was killed in 2003. The Shin Bet said it was still verifying the identity of the third terrorist, but Arab media have reportedly identified him as a Hebron resident affiliated with Hamas.
A police search of the terrorist's vehicle revealed two M-16 rifles, two handguns, 10 loaded magazines, and hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition. Axes and uniforms resembling those used by the IDF were also found in the car. The car in which the terrorists arrived had false Israeli license plates.
"Axes and a lot of ammunition were found in the terrorists' vehicle,"
said Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman. "The terrorists were probably planning to carry out a more significant operation in Jerusalem, but we eliminated them before they could do so."
A bus filled with children on their way to school was at the checkpoint at the time of the attack. The shooting was filmed from the bus as children ducked under the seats, praying and reciting psalms in fear. This highlighted a concern previously voiced by Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, about the risks that the necessary checkpoints may inadvertently cause. "We have been warning that the checkpoint can become a death trap because of the bottleneck it causes, which endangers the residents who wait sometimes bumper to bumper along the whole length of the road, which doesn't provide for any solution during a tragic event,"
said Revivi to Channel 7.
"The operational necessity of security checks is clear. However, creating such a big traffic jam endangers lives and creates sitting targets for terrorists,"
he argued. "It is horrifying to think what would happen if terrorists opened fire on a group of cars in the traffic jam and the physical inability of emergency service vehicles to reach them. An immediate solution has to be created to save lives."