By ARON HELLER
JERUSALEM — A Palestinian attacker opened fire early on Tuesday at the entrance to a settlement outside Jerusalem, killing three Israeli security men and critically wounding a fourth, Israeli police and medical services said, in one of the deadliest attacks in a two-year spate of violence.
Israeli officials said the attacker was a 37-year-old Palestinian father of four, with a valid work permit in Israel and a troubled personal life who appeared to have acted alone.
The attack comes at a tense period amid the Jewish high holidays and is likely to complicate the mediation efforts of U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt who just arrived in the region for meetings with Israeli and Palestinians leaders.
Speaking at his weekly Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack was partially a result of systematic Palestinian incitement and said he expected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “condemn this attack and not try to justify it.”
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the attacker approached the back gate entrance of the Har Adar settlement, hiding among dozens of Palestinian day laborers who were being checked by security forces.
The man aroused police suspicions and was asked to stop, Samri said. At that point, he pulled out a weapon and began opening fire at the forces from close range. The attacker was then shot dead by other forces at the scene.
The casualties were identified as Solomon Gavria, a 20-year-old policeman, and two private security guards — Yousef Othman and Or Arish, who were both 25 years old. The Magen David Adom medical service said that in addition to the three killed, a fourth Israeli man, aged 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 known for its good relations with its Arab neighbors — an unusual target in the wave of violence that Israel has been coping with over the past two years.
Shay Retter, the head of Har Adar’s security committee, said between 100 and 150 Palestinian laborers typically enter the community every day for work. Local residents said they knew the attacker from previous work he had carried out in the community and were shocked to hear what he had done. The military imposed a closure on the nearby Palestinian village of Beit Surik, the home of the attacker.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he saw no difference…