Terrorism: Israeli Security Forces a gather at the entrance to the West Bank settlement of Har Adar where three soldiers were killed when a Palestinian man opened fire
Three Israeli soldiers have been shot dead in a terror attack at a Jewish settlement on the West Bank after a Palestinian man opened fire on security forces on Tuesday morning.
A fourth person is in critical condition after the incident at the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem.
The 37-year-old attacker had attempted to gain entry to the settlement when he suddenly pulled out a weapon and shot four male soldiers in their 20s and 30s.
The incident has been branded a 'terror attack' by Israel, and is one of the deadliest in a two-year spate of violence in the area.
The victims are all reported to have been members of the Israeli security forces who had been guarding the entrance of the settlement.
The attacker had approached the back gate entrance, hiding among fellow Palestinian day labourers who were being checked by security forces, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
She said he aroused their suspicions and was asked to stop. At that point, he pulled out a weapon and began opening fire from a short distance.
The attacker was then shot dead by other forces at the scene.
The Magen David Adom medical service said that in addition to the three men in their 20s and 30s who were killed, a fourth Israeli man, 32, was evacuated to hospital in critical condition.
Har Adar is an upscale community west of Jerusalem, straddling the seam line between the West Bank and Israel proper - and an unusual target in the wave of violence that Israel has been coping with over the past two years.
Since September 2015, Palestinians have killed 48 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shooting and car-ramming attacks.
During that same time, Israeli forces have killed over 255 Palestinians; Israel says most of them were attackers, others died in clashes with Israeli forces.
Most of the attacks have been stabbings against security forces, primarily in the West Bank.
Palestinians say the attacks stem from anger and frustration at decades of Israeli rule in territories they claim for a state.
The frequency and intensity of attacks has lessened of late but such an incident, coming amid the Jewish high holiday, threatened to ignite them anew.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said 'the cruel terror attack proves once again the daily front that our security forces face in the most important mission - protecting and defending the safety of the citizens of Israel.'