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Israel soldier dies after shooting near Jerusalem claimed by Hamas

Israeli officers secure the scene after an attack by gunmen on a checkpoint guarding the access to road tunnels linking the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem
— Jerusalem (AFP)

An Israeli soldier died Thursday after being shot in an attack near Jerusalem that was claimed by the armed wing of Palestinian militant group Hamas.

In a statement, the Israeli army identified the soldier as Avraham Fetena, 20, saying he was wounded when three gunmen attacked a checkpoint at the entrance to a tunnel linking the occupied West Bank with Jerusalem.

Another five Israeli security personnel were also wounded, with Israeli police shooting dead all three assailants.

Police chief Kobi Shabtai told reporters the trio were found to be carrying pistols, axes and ammunition to carry out what he said would have been "a major attack or a massacre" in Israel.

The attack was claimed on Telegram by the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, which has been locked in a deadly confrontation with Israel in the Gaza Strip for nearly six weeks.

It said the shooting was "in revenge for the blood of the martyrs in Gaza".

The West Bank has seen a dramatic rise in tension and violence since October 7 when Hamas militants stormed across the Gaza border and killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.

They also took around 240 hostages, among them young children and elderly people, officials say.

Since then, Israel has carried out a major air and ground operation in Gaza which the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory says has now killed more than 11,500 people, including thousands of children.