A US national and a Palestinian man were declared dead at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics. An Israeli man in his 40s died in Jerusalem at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem after being evacuated from the scene with injuries to the upper torso and neck.
The victims have been named as Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American on his gap year, Shadi Arafeh, a 24-year-old Palestinian from Hebron, and Yaakov Don, aged 49, a teacher and father of four who lived in the nearby Alon Shvut settlement.
Schwartz was in a van with five others friends from Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, where he studied. They had been in the area to distribute food to soldiers stationed in the area, and their van was among the many cars stuck in traffic at the junction.
The police and army confirmed assailants opened fire from inside a vehicle at Israeli cars, hitting several people. The suspects then fled the scene in the direction of the Gush Etzion Junction before ramming the vehicle into a group of pedestrians, the IDF said.
Security personnel shot back at the suspects, disarming them and wounding at least one. Police said both men have been arrested.
The United States condemned the attacks in a statement to the Jerusalem Post yesterday: “We condemn these terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in the strongest possible terms. As we’ve made clear, we remain deeply concerned about the situation and continue to urge all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and prevent actions that would further escalate tensions”.