Police release footage showing first moments of Temple Mount attack
In CCTV clip, armed terrorists seen running up behind officer, shooting him in the back; killing of second cop is not seen
Israel Police on Friday released security footage from the first moments of the shooting attack at the Temple Mount on Friday in which two Israeli police officers were killed by three Israeli-Arab assailants.
The 16-second edited clip shows two officers, one of them standing, the other sitting, in an alleyway just outside the Temple Mount compound near the Old City’s Lions Gate. A passerby walks by them, as two armed men, weapons drawn, run up behind the standing officer and shoot him in the back. The footage ends there.
In the moments when the two assailants run into the alleyway, the passerby can be seen walking calmly past them, before turning around as a shot rings out.
Two officers, Haiel Sitawe, 30 and Kamil Shnaan, 22, both from Druze villages in northern Israel, were critically injured in the attack, later succumbing to their wounds. A third officer was injured by shrapnel.
After the shooting, the three terrorists, all from the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, fled back to the Temple Mount compound and were shot dead by other police officers on the scene, a police spokesperson said.
Reports throughout Friday said both the police officers were killed just outside the Temple Mount compound. However, Channel 2 news reported late Friday that the second policeman may have been killed by the assailants on the mount itself, after they had fled back.
Sitawe and Shnaan were laid to rest Friday afternoon.
The police commissioner described the attack as “extraordinary and extreme.”
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 exceedingly rare.
“A shooting on the Temple Mount is a an event that is grave, sensitive and full of meaning on the level of both [domestic] policy and internationally,” Alsheich said.
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.