Police said the incident, which took place on Israel’s Independence Day, involved two suspected attackers. One fired a rifle, the other attacked people with an ax or knife, police said.
The suspects have still not been arrested, according to Israeli police, who urged the public to stay away from the crime scene.
“Right now, security crossings have been deployed on several roads, along with a helicopter, in search of a vehicle that was seen fleeing,” a police spokesman said.
Photos of the accident site show multiple emergency services, including ambulances and motorcycles.
Two of the injured have arrived at Beilinson hospital, the hospital said. One is in critical condition and one in serious condition, the organization said.
“This is a very difficult event. When we arrived at the scene, we noticed that it was a complex scene,” Alon Rizkan, a paramedic with the Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom (MDA), said in a statement.
All three of the dead were men in their 40s, Rizkan said.
Two men, aged 60 and 35, were seriously injured, Rizkan said. A 40-year-old man suffered minor injuries and a 23-year-old man suffered minor injuries while fighting the attackers, he added.
The attack marks the latest in a series of violent incidents that have shaken Israel and the Palestinian territories in recent weeks.
Dozens have been killed in attacks in Israel and the West Bank since March 22, according to a CNN count.
In one incident, two people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured in a shooting at a bar in a busy area of Tel Aviv.
In a statement, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned Thursday’s attack and expressed his condolences to the families affected.
“Our enemies have embarked on a murderous campaign against Jews wherever they are. Their aim is to break our spirits, but they will fail. We will get our hands on the terrorists and their supportive environment and make them pay the price said Bennett. said in the statement.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned Thursday’s violence, his office said in a statement.
“Killing Palestinian and Israeli civilians only further worsens the situation at a time when we all strive for 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 provide security and stability to the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the peoples of the region.”
Late Thursday, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the suspected terror attack, without explicitly taking credit for it.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum linked the attack to clashes at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
“This is a courageous and heroic act that is a natural response to the occupation’s violations against the Al Aqsa Mosque,” he told CNN, referring to the presence of Israeli security at the compound.
The attack “sends a message to the occupation that all its crimes and violations will return to it alone,” he said, referring to Israel. “Our natural right is for our people to respond to the crimes of the occupation, deter them and defend our rights. Today the occupation is footing the bill for its violations.”
Mohammed Hamid Abu Al-Hassan, a member of the Islamic Jihad political bureau, congratulated the attackers.
“The desecration of the occupying army and settler gangs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque has crossed all red lines, and our people will continue to respond to this aggression,” he said, a nod to the clashes that took place at the compound on Thursday.
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 suspected terror attack “appears to be the latest in a series of despicable terrorist attacks that have rocked Israel in recent weeks.”
“We saw them prior to this sacred period — the confluence of Easter, Passover and Ramadan. We saw them prior to the Negev summit. And if this is what it appears to be, it’s something that we would condemn in the strongest wording,” said Price.
“Our commitment to our Israeli partners, to Israel’s security, is rock solid, and we will provide whatever assistance is needed in this case,” he added.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler and Jorge Engels contributed coverage.