Friday, 3 December 2021

Two Israeli policemen shot dead, gunmen killed


JERUSALEM: Three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen near one of Jerusalem’s most holy places on Friday, and were then killed by security forces, police said.

It was one of the most serious attacks so close to the volatile holy site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in years.

Israeli authorities shut the area to Muslims gathering for Friday prayers afterwards, drawing a call for resistance from Palestinian religious leaders.

The Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Hussein, called on Palestinians to defy the closure, and was later reported to have been detained.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but also said closing down the area could have repercussions.

The three gunmen arrived at the sacred site, which stands on a marble and stone plateau on the edge of Jerusalem’s Old City, and walked toward one of the nearby ancient stone gates, police spokeswoman Luba Simri said.

“When they saw policemen they shot toward them and then escaped toward one of the mosques in the Temple Mount compound,” Simri said. “A chase ensued and the three terrorists were killed by police.”

She said three firearms were found on their bodies. The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, said the gunmen were all Arab citizens of Israel who were unknown to the authorities.

Mobile phone video footage aired by Israeli media showed several police chasing a man and shooting him at the site, a popular place for foreign tourists to visit.

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