Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Two policemen shot dead in Jerusalem Old City

Two policemen shot dead in Jerusalem Old City

The Israeli authorities decided on Friday to ban prayer at al-Aqsa Mosque and close its gates until further notice after announcing it, along with the Old City of Jerusalem, a closed military zone.

Abbas also called on Israel to lift the closure on the holy esplanade, the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary shrine, warning that the move could have "consequences".

According to police, it was Israeli Arabs, citizens of Israel.

Police released images of what they said were the assailants' weapons, including a knife, a pistol and a homemade automatic firearm.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly tried to allay Muslim fears, saying the status quo at the Muslim-administered site "will be preserved".

Police distributed a video they said showed at least two of the attackers arriving from the direction of the mosque and ambushing police officers.

Muslim worshippers performed prayers in the streets near the walled Old City after police sealed off the area.

The assault happened near a gate of Jerusalem's Old City - and the shooters then fled toward a mosque at the nearby holy site.

In the phone call with Netanyahu, Abbas "expressed his strong rejection and condemnation of the incident at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and his rejection of any act of violence from any side, especially in places of worship", official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.

Law enforcement officers have eliminated three of the attackers.

The esplanade is revered by jews as the Temple mount.

Following the attack, the Israeli authorities shut the mosque and cancelled the weekly Friday prayers.

As a result of shooting near the Lion's gate in the Old city in Jerusalem (Israel) killed two police officers, said Israeli police.

The grand mufti of the city, Mohammed Hussein, was detained for questioning Friday at a police station in the Old City, his son, Omar, told The Associated Press.

Israel has also approved the construction of 71 housing units in the Arab Al-Sawahra Palestinian neighbourhood, and 29 others in Sharafat, according to Maariv. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming all of Jerusalem as the Jewish state's "eternal" capital - a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

The mosque has been the scene of deadly clashes between Israeli and Palestinians over the past years. Israeli restrictions on Muslim entry have prompted rioting in Palestinian areas, and previous Israeli efforts taken in response to violence at the site have strained relations with Jordan.

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