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Palestinian shot dead, 3 Israeli soldiers injured in shooting attack

Jan. 31, 2016 11:24 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2016 3:40 P.M.)
Scene of shooting attack near illegal Beit El settlement on Jan. 31, 2016 (Photo from social media)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian was shot dead after shooting and injuring three Israeli soldiers at an Israeli military checkpoint around the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, witnesses told Ma'an.

Witnesses said a Palestinian vehicle approached the Israeli checkpoint and stopped for inspection. When an Israeli soldier approached the driver's window, the driver opened fire, immediately shooting the soldier.

The driver then shot another two Israeli soldiers, one of which witnesses believed was hit in his flak jacket.

Israeli forces then opened fire, shooting the Palestinian driver dead.

Of the three injured, two are in severe condition, while one was mildly injured, a spokesperson with Israel's emergency medical service, Magen David Adom, said.

The Palestinian driver was latter identified as Amjad Jaser Sukkari, 34, a Palestinian Authority staff sergeant from Nablus. Hours after the shooting, his body was returned to PA forces and is expected to be buried later that day.

Photo of Amjad Jaser Sukkar, a 34 year old father of four who was shot dead after shooting and injuring three Israeli soldiers (MaanImages)

Israeli forces set up checkpoints and inspected all Palestinian vehicles in the area after the attack, and later shut down most of Ramallah district’s roads.

A Ma’an reporter said the Beit El checkpoint was closed completely to traffic in both directions, as well as the main road between Ramallah City and the northern West Bank near the village of Ein Siniya. The Atara checkpoint north of Ramallah was closed to traffic in one direction.

Drivers were allowed to travel from northwest Ramallah district villages to Ramallah City, but were prohibited from leaving Ramallah to go back to their villages.

The main entrances of Silwad and Nabi Salih, two towns northeast of Ramallah known for their protests against the Israeli occupation, were also shut down.

Israeli forces also set up several military checkpoints along the main road south of Ramallah City, affecting the villages of Kafr Nimah and Ras Karkar.

The Palestinian Authority military liaison director in the Ramallah and al-Bireh governorate, Nadir Hijja, told Ma'an that people with IDs indicating they were from Ramallah would be allowed to enter the city, but not to leave it.

Conversely, Hijja said Palestinians from other areas would not be allowed to enter Ramallah, but could leave the city. He added that this policy was to be applied for an undetermined amount of time.

The Hamas movement issued a statement on Sunday evening hailing Sukkar's "heroic resistance operation."

“This attack showcases the rejection of security coordination with the occupation, even among members of the PA security forces,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was quoted as saying.

On Sunday, a suspected Palestinian stabbed and lightly injured a 17-year-old Israeli near occupied East Jerusalem's Damascus gate. The attacker fled the scene, with Israeli forces detaining at least two Palestinian youth after the incident.

On Monday, a 16-year-old Palestinian turned himself into Israeli authorities in connection with the attack, Israeli media reported.

An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Since a wave of unrest began in occupied East Jerusalem in October and spread across the West Bank and Israel, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers, and over 20 Israelis have died in attacks, most of which were stabbings.
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