Friday morning in Jerusalem, two Israeli police officers were targeted and shot dead by three terrorists after prayers at the Temple Mount. A third officer was injured. All three terrorists, reportedly unknown by authorities, were killed on site.
Arutz Sheva 7 reports:
Initial investigations showed that three terrorists descended the Temple Mount after prayers armed with weapons and walked towards the Old City's Lions Gate. Seeing the police officers, the terrorists fired, then ran back towards the mosques on the Temple Mount.
Police officers chased them and eliminated the terrorists during a shootout. The terrorists were found to have two pistols and a rifle.
Just after the attack, Israeli authorities evacuated the area and closed down the site fueling anger from the Muslim community and calls to defy the order.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and condemned the attack. However, he warned that closing down the holy site could be asking for more trouble.
Palestinian Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein also told his people to ignore the closure.
“We completely reject the ban by Israeli authorities," Hussein said. "We have urged our Palestinian people to rush to al Aqsa today and every day to hold their prayers."
The grand mufti was reportedly detained in his zeal to defy the order.
Also criticizing Israel was International Crisis Group’s Ofer Zalzberg who said the media showing images of one of the terrorists getting shot “can have a much broader impact because defending al Aqsa is at the core of Palestinian nationalism.” He added that Israel closing down prayers in an effort to prevent further attacks “actually exacerbates the crisis.”
Though no specific group has claimed responsibility, Hamas has publicly praised the attack.
(As an aside, the previous quotes and facts were pulled from Reuters' pathetically sanitized coverage, preferring the term "gunmen" instead of "terrorists.")
Arutz Sheva identified the terrorists as Mohammed Ahmad Muhammad Jabbarin, 29, Mohammed Hamed Abad Alalatif Jabbarin, 19, and Mohammed Ahmad Mafdil Jabbarin, 19. All of them were Israeli-Arabs with full citizenship, the report states.
Just minutes before the attack, two of the terrorist posted a picture of themselves on Facebook, boasting with the Temple Mount in the background, “Our smiles are about to be the most beautiful, with the help of Allah.”
Here's footage of one of them getting the smile wiped off his face, accompanied by the expected shout of "Allahu Akbar:"
The officers killed have been identified as Command Sergeant Major Hayil Satawi, 30, and Command Sergeant Major Kamil Shanaan, 22. Satawi leaves behind a wife and a three-week-old son; Shanaan, a brother and three sisters.
This attack comes one month after another Israeli officer, 23 years old, was stabbed to death in a coordinated attack by three Palestinian terrorists at the Damascus Gate.