Police said the incident, which happened on Israel’s Independence Day, involved two suspected attackers. One fired a rifle while the other attacked people with an ax or a knife, police said.
The suspects have still not been apprehended, according to Israeli police, who urged the public to stay away from the scene.
“At this point, security checkpoints were deployed on various roads, along with a helicopter, to search for a vehicle that was seen fleeing the scene,” a spokesperson for the agency said. the police.
Footage from the scene showed several emergency vehicles, including ambulances and motorcycles.
Two of the injured arrived at Beilinson Hospital, the hospital said. One is in critical condition and the other in serious condition, he said.
“It’s a very difficult event. When we got there, we noticed it was a complex scene,” said Alon Rizkan, a paramedic with Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency response service. , in a press release.
The three dead were men in their 40s, Rizkan said.
Two men, ages 60 and 35, are seriously injured, Rizkan said. A 40-year-old man was lightly injured and a 23-year-old man was lightly injured fighting off the attackers, he added.
The attack is the latest in a series of violent incidents that have plagued Israel and the Palestinian territories in recent weeks.
Dozens of people have died in bombings in Israel and the West Bank since March 22, according to a CNN tally.
In one incident, two people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured in a shootout at a bar in a busy Tel Aviv neighborhood.
In a statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned Thursday’s attack and offered his condolences to the affected families.
“Our enemies have embarked on a murderous campaign against Jews wherever they may be. Their aim is to break our spirits, but they will fail. We will get our hands on the terrorists and their supporting environment, and ensure that they’re paying the price,” Bennett said. said in the press release.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned Thursday’s violence, his office said in a statement.
“The killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only further aggravates the situation at a time when we are all striving to achieve stability and prevent escalation,” Abbas said in the statement.
Abbas warned against Jewish settlers using the incident as an excuse “to carry out attacks and reactions against our Palestinian people”.
He added that “lasting, comprehensive and just peace is the shortest and best way to ensure the security and stability of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the peoples of the region.”
Late Thursday, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, praised the alleged terror attack, without explicitly taking credit for it.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum linked the attack to clashes inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
“It’s a brave and heroic act that comes as a natural response to the occupation’s violations against al-Aqsa Mosque,” he told CNN, referring to the Israeli security presence in the building. pregnant.
The attack “sends a message to the occupation that all its crimes and violations will be theirs alone,” he said, referring to Israel. “Our natural right is for our people to respond to the crimes of the occupation, to deter it and to defend our rights. Today, the occupation is paying the bill for its violations.”
Muhammad Hamid Abu Al-Hassan, a member of the Islamic Jihad’s political bureau, praised the attackers.
“The occupation army and settler gangs’ desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque has crossed all red lines, and our people will continue to respond to this aggression,” he said, winking. eye to the clashes that occurred Thursday in the enclosure.
Only Muslims are allowed to visit the holy site, called the Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, during the last 10 days of Ramadan each year. Groups of Israeli Jews began visiting again on Thursday.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday’s alleged terror attack appears to be “the latest in a series of despicable terror attacks that have rocked Israel in recent weeks.”
“We saw them before this holy period – the confluence of Easter, Passover, Ramadan. We saw them before the Negev summit. And if that’s what it seems like, that’s something we would condemn in the strongest terms,” Price said.
“Our commitment to our Israeli partners, to Israel’s security, is rock solid, and we will provide whatever assistance may be needed in this case,” he added.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Jorge Engels contributed reporting.