TEL AVIV – New footage showing how guns were smuggled onto the Temple Mount prior to Friday’s terror attack that killed two police officers was released Thursday by Israel police and the Shin Bet security agency.
The three Arab-Israeli gunmen — Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19, and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19 — cousins from the village of Umm al Fahm, were caught on cctv entering the Old City of Jerusalem separately through Herod’s Gate. They were accompanied by a fourth accomplice who carried the weapons in a backpack and stashed them in the Al Aqsa Mosque on the morning of the attack.
At Huta Gate one of the terrorists can be seen being stopped and questioned before being allowed in. Footage of the fourth, unidentified man shows him leaving through Herod’s Gate before the attack.
The three attackers are then seen exiting the mosque and walking through an alleyway to change their clothes and hide the weapons on their persons. The next piece of footage was released immediately following the attack, and shows Druze Israeli policemen Kamil Shnaan and Haiel Sitawe being fatally shot.
Two of the terrorists were shot and killed during an exchange of fire with the police officers. The third is seen shot on the ground before getting up and attempting to stab police officers. He was shot again and killed.
“This is all the footage and information available at this stage of the investigation,” said police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld.
After the attack, Israel closed the site over the weekend to search for more weapons. Since its reopening on Sunday, Waqf officials have refused to ascend the Mount and urged other Muslims to stay away in protest over the newly installed metal detectors.
The decision to place the metal detectors at the Temple Mount’s gates following the shooting has been met with widespread outrage by Muslim leaders, with Waqf officials calling on Muslims not to enter the site until they are removed. Palestinian Authority leaders and clerics have also urged Muslims to take to the streets and demonstrate in a “Day of Rage” against the new security measures.
On Tuesday evening, violent riots erupted with Muslims throwing Molotov cocktails at security forces near the entrance to the Temple Mount. Renewed clashes broke out between rioters and security forces on Wednesday and Thursday outside the Lions’ Gate.
In an interview with Army Radio Thursday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan rejected Arab claims that the new security measures were an attempt to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“The Israeli police need these metal detectors so the security checks can give a proper response to the security considerations,” he said. Erdan had previously said live fire on the holy site was a “red line.”
According to Channel 2, Erdan disagreed with the Shin Bet who believed removing the metal detectors would prevent further violence.
Palestinian and Israeli sources said on Wednesday that the U.S. was trying to broker a compromise in which magnetometer wands would replace the metal detectors, and only people who raise suspicions would be subjected to a sweep.
However, earlier Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had no intention of removing the metal detectors at the current time.
“We had a security consultation and no decision was taken. There will be additional security consultations,” he said.