Jerusalem: police, two Israeli officers killed


According to a statement by the Israeli police, three Palestinian gunmen reached the Old City of Jerusalem's Lion's Gate near the Al Aqsa compound on Friday, opened fire and fled towards the Al Aqsa mosque where they were shot dead by Israeli police officers.

Two Israeli policemen have been killed and a third wounded in a shooting attack near a sacred site in Jerusalem.

Abbas condemned the attack and said he rejects "any violence from any party, particularly at holy sites". Sathawi left a wife and a 3-week-old baby, police said.

She said a knife, a gun and two rifles were found on the terrorists' bodies.

Following the attack, Israeli police cleared the Al Aqsa mosque and closed it for public.

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Israel considers the entirety of Jerusalem to be its undivided capital but Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, where the holy site is situated, as the capital of any future sovereign state, as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The attack resulted in three casualties, one in moderate condition and two police officers who have been declared dead. In some cases, Palestinians in the compound have also thrown stones at Jewish worshippers at the nearby Western Wall, a remnant of one of the biblical Jewish Temples.

In an unusual move, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas initiated a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday in light of the fatal terror attack at the Temple Mount complex that morning, which claimed the lives of two young Druze policemen.

There has been a wave of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings of Israelis predominantly by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since late 2015. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said Israeli security forces canceled Friday prayers to make sure "no weapons" are on the Temple Mount.

The Director of the Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed Omar al-Kiswani, in a video shared on social media, said Israel was "taking advantage of what happened" at the Temple Mount "to impose a new reality on the ground".

Jordan, the custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, urged Israel to "immediately reopen" it. At least 257 Palestinians and one Jordanian citizen have been killed since the violence began.