Police video shows how Friday’s terrorists got their guns onto Temple Mount

Newly released security footage reveals fourth man who brought weapons onto site, shows attackers moments before they shot dead two police officers

Security footage released by police on July 20, 2017, shows the three terrorists behind the Temple Mount shooting at the site the morning of the attack. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Security footage released by police on July 20, 2017, shows the three terrorists behind the Temple Mount shooting at the site the morning of the attack. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Police on Thursday released video footage from the terror attack at the Temple Mount last Friday showing how the assailants were assisted in smuggling the guns into the Al-Aqsa Mosque there on the morning of the shooting.

In the security camera footage, the three Arab-Israeli gunmen — Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19 — can be seen arriving in Jerusalem from their hometown of Umm al-Fahm by bus before separately entering the Old City of Jerusalem through Herod’s Gate. They proceeded to enter the Temple Mount through the Huta Gate.

At the gate, one of the attackers was stopped and questioned after apparently arousing the suspicion of a police officer before being eventually allowed to enter the site.

The video also shows that the three attackers had an accomplice, an unidentified fourth individual, who brought the guns in a backpack onto the Temple Mount and left them in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Channel 2 reported that the accomplice has been arrested and that he was also an Israeli Arab. His identity has not been released.

The security footage later shows the fourth man leaving the Temple Mount and exiting the Old City through Herod’s Gate prior to the attack.

Two of the attackers can then be seen exiting the mosque together, while the third assailant exits by himself shortly after them with the bag of weapons on his back.

The three terrorists are next seen walking together down an alley at the site to switch their clothes before returning without the bag, with the weapons now hidden on their bodies.

The video ends with the security footage from the moment the shooting of police officers Kamil Shnaan and Haiel Sitawe began, footage the police released last week following Friday’s attack.

Despite some initial reports that officials from the religious body that administers the site helped the attackers smuggle the weapons into the Al-Aqsa Mosque prior to the attack, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily had reported Thursday morning that police believed the assailants brought the weapons onto the Temple Mount the morning of the shooting. This was confirmed in the security footage.

“This is all the footage and information available at this stage of the investigation,” said police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld.

Following the attack, Israel took the rare step of closing the Temple Mount for the first time in nearly 50 years in order to search for more weapons, before later reopening the site to Muslims on Sunday and non-Muslims on Monday after installing metal detectors at the entrances. Such detectors were previously only in place at the Mughrabi Gate entrance to the Mount, the sole entrance for non-Muslim visitors.

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.

To protest the move, demonstrators have held protests outside the entrances to the site daily this week, which at times have devolved into violent clashes with police officers.

Muslim protesters demonstrate outside the Old City of Jerusalem's Lions Gate on July 19, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Muslim protesters demonstrate outside the Old City of Jerusalem’s Lions Gate on July 19, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In an interview with Army Radio Thursday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would rule on the issue later in the day after he holds security consultations upon his return from a working visit to Europe. The security establishment was reported to be divided over what to do given the volatility surrounding the site. But Erdan rejected Arab accusations that new Israeli measures were an attempt to expand control over the site and insisted they were necessary to carry out proper security checks.

“The Israeli police needs these metal detectors so the security checks can give a proper response to the security considerations,” he said. “I assume there are contacts internationally to try to calm the situation, but in my eyes there is no reason why the situation should not be calm.”

Tensions are high ahead of Friday, the highlight of the Muslim religious week, when tens of thousands of Muslims typically attend prayers in the walled compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. Muslim leaders have called for mass protests if the metal detectors are not moved before then.

In preparation for the possibility of unrest, the IDF announced Thursday that it was putting five additional battalions on alert in the West Bank “ahead of Friday,” though the military added that those battalions may be released should the situation change.

AP contributed to this report.

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