A gun battle near Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem’s Old City witnessed the killing of two Israeli policemen by three Palestinian assailants who were also later gunned down in the exchange.
According to security operatives the gunmen attacked the two police officers when they reached one of the gates near the Al Aqsa compound gunning down the two policemen who were on standby.
The assailants however met their waterloo when they were also felled by bullets fired by other cops in the area as they fled towards Al Aqsa mosque.
The killings forced Israeli police to order a closure of the compound, saying there would be no prayers at the siteon Friday.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Palestinians reportedly shot at Israeli security forces near the Lion Gate to the Old City. “The three attackers were armed with two machine guns, a pistol and a knife, according to Israeli police,” Fawcett reported.
“They were then pursued inside the Al Aqsa mosque compound. In the courtyard of the compound a final gun battle ensued between the gunmen and Israeli security forces.
“Management of Al Aqsa mosque said the bodies of two Palestinians were inside the courtyard of the compound,” Fawcett reported.
Reports say Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phoneon Friday moments after the incident as he condemned the shooting.
“The President expressed his strong rejection and condemnation of the incident that took place at Al Aqsa mosque, as well as his rejection of any violent incidents from any side, especially in places of worship,” Palestinian news agency Wafa said.