Western diplomats reacted with shock and outrage to Friday’s deadly terror attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, with senior officials from the United Nations and the US issuing condemnations.
“Shocked at #Jerusalem attack today,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted, minutes after the shooting attack occurred. “Places for worship are for prayer, not for violence. All must take a stand against #terror & condemn it.”
The American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also took to Twitter, saying: “Shocked and horrified by the despicable attack.” He added: “Terrorism must be condemned by all and defeated. We pray for the victims.”
The US Consulate General in Jerusalem, which represents the US administration to the Palestinian Authority, condemned the shooting, calling it a “horrific and violent act.” In a second tweet, the consulate added: “Terrorism is unacceptable. Holy sites must be protected.”
Shocked and horrified by the despicable attack today in Jerusalem. Terrorism must be condemned by all and defeated. We pray for the victims.
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) July 14, 2017
At around 7:00 a.m., the attackers walked from the Temple Mount compound toward the Lions Gate exit of the Old City, then opened fire at a group of Israeli police officers, according to police. Two officers were critically wounded and later died of their wounds. A third was lightly hurt. After the shooting, the terrorists fled back toward the Temple Mount and police gave chase. The officers then opened fire, shooting the terrorists dead inside the complex.
Israeli politicians from across the spectrum also condemned the attack. But while some urged the government to lift the decade-old ban on Jewish prayer at the site, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was committed to the status quo at the holy site.
Israel did, however, cancel Friday prayers at the Temple Mount for the first time years.
“Today’s terror attack was an extremely severe event which crossed all red lines,” Public Security Minister Erdan said Friday morning. “The investigation is ongoing. We will need to reevaluate all of the security arrangements on the Temple Mount and its environs.”