USCCB leaders say armed attacks near Jerusalem holy sites 'a desecration'

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Muslim worshippers were very angry with the incident and wanted to reopen the site immediately.Palestinian religious and political leaders, Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a world Islamic body, among others been called to reopen it as soon as possible.

"I can confirm that the two police officers who were previously in critical condition have died of their wounds in [the] hospital", Rosenfeld told CNN.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Palestinians reportedly shot at Israeli security forces near the Lion Gate to the Old City. The gunmen were all shot dead by police.

The temple was closed for the first time in almost 50 years on a Friday, Islam's holy day.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced the lifting of the closure late Saturday, and added security.

Israeli authorities shut the area after the attacks - the most serious incident in years close to the highly sensitive compound, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews.

The two policemen killed were Israeli Arab citizens from the country's Druze community.

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The Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem reopened on Sunday after being closed following a deadly attack, but some Muslims were refusing to enter because of new Israeli security measures, including metal detectors and cameras.

The Palestinian victims were identified as Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamid Abd al-Latif Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmad Mufdal Jabarin, 19.

The early morning attack was carried by three Arab-Israelis from the town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack on the Temple Mount, the official PA media agency Wafa reported. "It is incompatible with achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it, and eradicate it".

"We hold the Israeli government responsible for the changes they have made in the al-Aqsa Mosque and taking its control away from us".

The new step led to bigger disputes and a war on "the sovereignty of the mosque", leading to further confrontations near one of the gates, and leaving several Palestinians injured.

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