Two Israeli Police Officers Killed in Temple Mount Shooting, Another Wounded

After shooting, Israeli Arab assailants entered Temple Mount complex and were shot and killed by police; Israel cancels Friday prayers at the site for first time in years

Slain police officers Kamil Shnan (left) and Hael Sathawi against the backdrop of a forensic team surrounding the body of an assailant on the Temple Mount, July 14, 2017.
THOMAS COEX/AFP and Israel Police

Two Border Police Officers were killed on Friday morning's shooting attack at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Another police officer was also wounded.

The police officers who were killed have been identified as Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Hael Sathawi, a 30-year-old resident of Maghar, and Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shanan, a 22-year-old resident of Hurfeish and the son of former MK Shakib Shanan.

Footage shows security forces shooting an assailant in Friday morning's attack.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the attack to condemn the shooting.

Exchange of fire on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, July 14, 2017.

The assailants, Israeli Arabs from the northern town of Umm al-Fahm, were shot and killed. Police ordered the shuttering of the Temple Mount compound, which was cleared of people. Police also ordered the cancellation of Friday prayers at the site for the first time in years.

Police said that three armed assailants arrived at one of the gates to the Temple Mount when they noticed policemen present. They shot at them and escaped in the direction of the mosques on Temple Mount. They were pursued and shot and killed by policemen, police said, adding that two rifles and a pistol were found on their bodies.

Emergency personnel at the site of the shooting attack in Jerusalem's Old City, July 14, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Shin Bet security services named the three assailants as Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Jabareen (29), Mohammed Hamed Abd Al-Latif Jabareen (19) and Mohammed Ahmed Mafdal Jabareen (19). None had previous security offenses.

Muslim worshipers who arrived at the Lions Gate to enter the Old City or the Temple Mount were turned away by policemen. At least two religious leaders who arrived at the scene with entourages were also turned away.

Emergency personnel at the site of the shooting attack in Jerusalem's Old City, July 14, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

The last time the Temple Mount complex was closed off to Muslims was a day after the 2014 shooting of Yehudah Glick, now a Knesset member for the Likud. The cancellation of Friday prayers at the Temple Mount compound is unusual and didn’t even occur during the second intifada, and may lead to tensions in East Jerusalem. An official from the Waqf Muslim religious trust told Haaretz that to the best of his memory, the last time Friday prayers were completely cancelled at the site was in 1990.

At the conclusion of an assessment of the attack the police commissioner held the police said that the incident "has significances on the diplomatic and international levels and will be treated accordingly."

Emergency personnel at the site of the shooting attack in Jerusalem's Old City, July 14, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Footage of the attack shows one of the assailants lying on the floor before getting up and being shot by police after they searched his belongings.

Netanyahu held an update call together with the defense and public security ministers, the IDF chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet, the police chief and the government's coordinator in the territories. The Prime Minister's Bureau said that the status quo on the Temple Mount would be preserved.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that "the attack today is a difficult and severe event in which red lines were crossed. The attack is still under investigation and will require of us to review all security arrangements at the [Temple] Mount and its surroundings. I call on all public leaders to act to calm the situation and preserve the quiet in Jerusalem."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that "the attack in Jerusalem is a natural reaction to Israeli terror and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and is proof of the continuing resistance to the occupation and that the Palestinian people are united and supportive of the resistance."  

On Monday, a Palestinian man was shot and killed after he attempted to run over and stab a group of soldiers near the West Bank settlement of Tekoa. A soldier was moderately wounded in the attack.

Last month, three Palestinian assailants armed with guns and knives carried out an attack in Jerusalem that killed one Border Policewoman and left a number of people wounded. The officer, Hadas Malka, 23, was critically stabbed while attempting to reach for her gun, according to Israel's Police, and later succumbed to her wounds.