Two Israeli Border Policemen Killed in Temple Mount Shooting Attack
Two Israeli border policemen were killed on Friday in a shooting attack carried out by three terrorists at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
A third Israeli border police officer was wounded in the incident. The assailants — Israeli Arabs from the northern city of Umm al-Fahm — were shot dead at the scene.
The slain border policemen — both members of Israel’s Druze community — were identified as 30-year-old Haiel Sitawe, who had become a father just three weeks ago, and 22-year-old Kamil Shnaan, the son of a former Knesset member. They were to be laid to rest in their home communities, Maghar and Hurfeish respectively, later on Friday.
In a condolence statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “This is a sad day for our brothers in the Druze community who are paying the heaviest price in our shared duty to defend the security of Israel. I salute them and their heroism. May their memories be rooted in our hearts forever.”
Following the attack, Friday prayers at the Temple Mount were cancelled and the hilltop compound — the former site of the Jewish Temples where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are now located — was closed.
No terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Hamas called it “a natural response to Israel’s terrorism and its desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
None of the terrorists had prior criminal records.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke by telephone with Netanyahu on Friday and condemned the attack. He also called for the reopening of the Temple Mount.
According to Netanyahu’s office, the prime minister told Abbas that Israel would take “all necessary actions to maintain security on the Temple Mount, without changing the status quo.”
In a statement, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called Friday’s attack “especially egregious,” adding that the goal of its perpetrators was to “incite and fan the flames on the Temple Mount.”
“Anyone who thinks that there is anything to be achieved through terror at a holy place of worship is bitterly deluded,” Barkat said. “On the contrary — we will pursue and exact a price from anyone involved in murderous terror. We will not surrender. We will continue to live our lives and to build and strengthen Jerusalem.”
Watch video footage of the attack (showing the elimination of one of the terrorists) below: