TEL AVIV — Two Israeli Border Police Officers were murdered and a third was wounded on Friday when three Palestinian terrorists opened fire at security forces near an entrance to the Temple Mount and fled onto the Mount complex.
The Palestinian assailants, reportedly carrying two rifles and a pistol, were pursued by Israeli forces and were shot and killed as they tried to escape toward the mosques on the Temple Mount. The Mount is the holiest site in Judaism.
The terrorists reportedly came from the Temple Mount and were walking toward the Lions Gate exit when they started to attack Israeli officers near the gate before attempting to flee back onto the Mount. It was not immediately clear how the weapons were smuggled onto the Mount. Visitors to the site must first pass through a security check with metal detectors.
One dramatic video (see top) that has been posted by the news media here shows one of the terrorists lying on the ground before leaping up and attempting to attack the pursuing officers. The terrorist can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” (or “Allah is great”) amid a hail of gunfire.
Other videos were posted on Twitter and YouTube:
BREAKING VIDEO: Moments after Arab terrorists were shot following shooting attack at entrance of Temple Mount in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/sqpCOwIJdz
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) July 14, 2017
The two murdered police officers were identified as 30-year-old Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Hael Sathawi, and 22-year-old Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shanan. Both resided in mostly Druze villages in northern Israel.
The three terrorists were reportedly Israeli Arabs from the northern town of Umm al-Fahm, which is known as a hotbed of Islamic radical extremism. The three reportedly had no prior arrest records.
“This was a tough morning for the police,” said Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich. “We have two people killed, officers, who paid the dearest price in this battle.”
In a highly unusual move, Israel cancelled Friday prayers on the Temple Mount due to the ongoing security situation. Mount preachers are notorious for using Friday night sermons to incite against Israel – especially with false claims of Israeli threats to the Al Aqsa Mosque – and there is fear here that the services could have been used to instigate further violence on the Mount.
Friday’s attack comes less than two weeks after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed an anti-Israel resolution declaring Jerusalem’s Old City and its ancient walls to be “occupied” sites and listed the areas as Palestinian heritage sites in “danger.”
And the terrorist attack comes one week after UNESCO passed another anti-Israel resolution regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – claiming the tomb is a “Palestinian” world heritage site in danger.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.