Israel forces kill gunman who fired at West Bank checkpoint

JERUSALEM (AFP): Israeli forces on Saturday killed a gunman who opened fire on a checkpoint north of Jerusalem, lightly wounding a guard, police said while a Palestinian militant group claimed the attack.

Israeli police said a “suspect opened fire at the security forces operating at the (Qalandia) crossing.”

“The security forces operating at the crossing engaged the threat by returning fire and neutralized the terrorist. The death of the terrorist was later determined at the scene,” a police statement said.

The Qalandia checkpoint is the main gateway used by Palestinians between annexed east Jerusalem and Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli police spokesman was unable to immediately identify the person shot dead at the crossing.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a Palestinian militant group, in a statement said “our heroic fighters… were able to directly target occupation (Israeli) soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint.”

The shooting follows a series of deaths in the West Bank this week, including four Israelis fatally shot in a Palestinian attack, and 10 Palestinians killed in an Israeli raid and subsequent drone strike.

So far this year, violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed at least 175 Palestinians, 25 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian.

The tally compiled from official sources includes combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.