Three wounded, two critically, in shooting terror attack at Temple Mount
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Three wounded, two critically, in shooting terror attack at Temple Mount

Three assailants, reportedly Israeli Arabs, flee to holy site before being shot dead by police; Old City closed to traffic

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Medics treat victims of a shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on July 14, 2017. (Magen David Adom)
Medics treat victims of a shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on July 14, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

Three Israelis were wounded in a shooting attack just outside the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday morning, police said.

Police officers on the scene shot and killed the terrorists, a police spokesperson said.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, two of the Israeli victims were seriously wounded and another was lightly hurt in the attack. All three victims were said to be men in their 30s.

The severely injured victims suffered gunshot wounds, MDA said, while the lightly wounded person was hit by shrapnel.

According to police, the attackers came from the Temple Mount shortly after 7:00 in the morning. They walked toward the Lions Gate exit, then opened fire at the Israelis.

After the shooting, the terrorists fled toward the Temple Mount and police gave chase. The officers then opened fire, shooting the terrorists dead inside the complex.

In a video from the scene, one of the suspected terrorists can be seen lying on the ground on the Temple Mount, surrounded by police who have their weapons drawn.

The man suddenly springs up and lunges at one of the police officers with a knife, but is shot before he can stab anybody, a police spokesperson said.

A search of their bodies revealed two Carlo-style submachine guns and a pistol that were used to carry out the attack, police said.

The knife was also recovered at the scene.

A photograph that purportedly shows the shooters’ ID cards indicated they were Israeli citizens from the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. This was not confirmed by police.

A pistol and one of two Carlo-style submachine guns used in a shooting attack that left two Israeli seriously wounded near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)
A pistol and one of two Carlo-style submachine guns used in a shooting attack that left two Israeli seriously wounded near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Following the attack, Jerusalem Police chief Yoram Halevi canceled prayers for the day on the Temple Mount, ordering the complex cleared and the entrances to the holy site closed. Police also placed checkpoints at the entrances to the Old City.

A knife that was carried by one of the terrorists who carried out a shooting attack that left two Israeli seriously wounded near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)
A knife that was carried by one of the terrorists who carried out a shooting attack that left two Israeli seriously wounded near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

The seriously wounded victims were taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus for treatment. The lightly injured person was brought to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

He had been hit by shrapnel and sustained wounds to the neck, arms and hands, a hospital spokesperson said.

It was not immediately known how the terrorists brought the weapons into the holy site. Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount complex go through a less rigorous security check than non-Muslim visitors who enter through the Mughrabi Bridge.

No terror group took immediate responsibility for the attack.

While shootings and stabbings have been common in the Old City of Jerusalem in the past two years, attacks on or near the Temple Mount itself are rare.

Last month, a border police officer, 23-year-old Hadas Malka, was stabbed to death in an attack near the Damascus Gate, a frequent site of terror attacks.

The past two years have seen an ongoing wave of Palestinian violence in the West Bank and Israel, though it has waned in recent months.

Since September 2015, mainly Palestinian assailants have killed 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans, a Palestinian man and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, some 280 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.

The Israeli government has blamed the terrorism and violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded by social media accounts that glorify violence and encourage attacks.

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