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Shooting attack near Jerusalem's Temple Mount causes several casualties

Shooting attack near Jerusalem's Temple Mount causes several casualties

"I am afraid they will do the same in Al-Aqsa", said Basem Khoury, a prominent Jerusalem figure and former PNA economy minister.

Police recovered two locally-made automatic rifles, a pistol and a knife, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

Videos circulating on social media showed a hail of gunfire ring out in what seemed to be an exchange of bullets between Israeli security forces and the assailants.

On Friday three terrorists opened fire on a group of Israeli policemen at Temple Mount, killing two officers and wounding two.

Security forces later locked down the area and in a highly unusual move, the Al-Aqsa mosque was closed to Friday prayers. "For now, the restrictions on travel to the Old City have been extended through at least Sunday".

Police identified the attackers as Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Jabarin, 29, Mohamed Hamad Abdel Atif Jabarin, 19, and Mohammed Ahmed Mufdal Jabarin, 19.

The compound has proved to be a tinder-box in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past.

"The Israeli government is ready to take it in that direction because it reiterates the negative stereotype of the aggressive Palestinian, especially under global silence over its breaches of human rights and worldwide law in Jerusalem", she added. The gun battle ended at the Temple Mount, where police killed the attackers.

Sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third-holiest site.

In addition, a Palestinian 18-year-old was killed on Friday by gunfire during clashes with israeli soldiers near Bethlehem in the occupied west bank, according to the palestinian ministry of Health. The compound houses the Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. The biggest Muslim-Sunni institute called upon the worldwide community to be responsible towards the Palestinian people, as well as to stop abusing "international standards" when it comes to dealing with the occupation.

Khoury's pessimistic comment is the summary of the main fears of Palestinians, as the Hebron's Islamic site, Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, considered fourth holy site in Islam, came under Israeli control after security pretexts.

"It is not unreasonable for Israel to have thought that the way to maintain peace and to maintain order and to keep passions down would be to have the mosque closed for the day", he explained.

In addition to the Lion's Gate, Israel Police Chief police also sealed entrance to the Old City at the Jaffa and Zion gates.

Waqf officials said its guards at the site had been detained by Israeli police following the attack. Two of the previous attackers were Jordanians. "This is a decision that aims to deter further attacks and it will be interpreted by most Palestinians as collective punishment".

Jordan, the custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, urged Israel to "immediately reopen" it.

He was referring to the start of Israel's occupation of east Jerusalem, which it later annexed in a move never recognised by the global community.