Temple Mount shooting in Jerusalem: Two Israeli police and three Palestinian gunmen killed

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Two Israeli police and three Arab-Israeli gunmen have died after a shootout today at the entrance to the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.

It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam.

Three people were wounded when the gunmen opened fire at Lion’s Gate, one of the entrances into the complex.

The attackers then fled into the Temple Mount compound, known to Muslims as Haram esh-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and were shot dead.

Amateur video broadcast on Israeli TV stations showed the confrontation, and  two rifles, a handgun and a knife were found on the bodies of the attackers.

Temple Mount has been a flashpoint for violence in the past, with friction there sparking Israeli-Palestinian violence, including  the “intifada” protests against Israeli occupation that lasted several years.

Israeli police said the holy site was cleared of visitors after the attack and would be closed for prayers today — the highlight of the Muslim religious week.

Thousands of worshippers flock regularly to the compound, both from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

It is only the third time since Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war that authorities have ordered the Muslim-administered holy site to be closed.

Police are investigating how the attackers were able to approach the Old City with weapons.

There is heavy security in the area, particularly on Fridays, and young Palestinian men are frequently stopped and searched.

Friday’s incident  was the latest in a continuing wave of Palestinian attacks that started in 2015, partly over the Jerusalem holy site.

In that time Palestinian militants have killed 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and using cars to ram into troops or civilians.

Israeli forces have killed 254 Palestinians, most of them in terrorist attacks and others in street clashes.

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