Three Palestinian gunmen wound three Israelis before being shot dead
Three Palestinians opened fire on Israelis near a holy site for major Jerusalem Friday, wounding three before fleeing into the holy compound where they were shot dead with security forces, police said.
The unusual battle took place inside a sacred hilltop of Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and the Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The complex is the holiest site for Judaism and the third holiest place in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
The site has been a flashpoint of violence in the past, causing friction with major Israeli-Palestinian violence, including a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation that lasted for several years.
Police said the site was cleared of people after the attack and will be closed by Friday prayers the highlight of Muslim religious week. It usually attracts tens of thousands of worshipers flocking to Israeli rice and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
This marked the third time since Israel captured East Jerusalem in the Middle East war since 1967 the authorities ordered the closure of the Muslim-run complex, said Ikrema Sabri, a leader of prayer at the holy place.
Police spokesman Luba Samri said the incident began early Friday morning near the Lion’s Gate, an entrance to the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. The mosque is located a few meters (m) from the lion’s door.
Ms Samri said the attackers opened fire on the Israelis and then fled into the compound. Police chased and killed the attackers, he said.
Amateur video transmission on Israeli television channels showed seconds of what appeared to be a clash between Israeli security forces and the attackers.
In the video, several people are only visible with dark characters in the images from a distance that circulates inside the complex. At one point, one of the figures fell to the ground. At another time, a cloud of smoke, perhaps the shot, was visible.
Two rifles, a pistol and a knife were found in the bodies of the attackers.
Police are investigating how the attackers approached the old city with guns. Strong security is in place in the region, especially on Friday and young Palestinians often stopped and checked by police.
It is the latest bloodshed in a wave of Palestinian attacks that broke out in 2015, partly at the holy site in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Palestinian attackers killed 43 Israelis, two Americans and a British tour of stabbings, shots and attacks on military or civilian buses.
During this period, Israeli forces killed more than 254 Palestinians, most of them reported that Israeli attackers, while others were killed in clashes.