Two Israeli Police Killed by Arabs on the Temple Mount

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Three Palestinian assailants shot dead two Israeli policemen before being killed in a shootout near the flashpoint holy site in east Jerusalem on Friday. Israel said the killers emerged from the Temple Mount compound with automatic weapons, in what Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called a "defiling" of the holy site. Security forces locked down the area and the Al-Aqsa Mosque was closed to Friday prayers after the attack in a highly unusual move.

They had been armed with guns and knives, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

In that time, Israeli forces have killed more than 254 Palestinians, a lot of them said by Israel to be attackers.

A relative of the attackers described them as devout Muslims who lived in northern Israel but frequently traveled to the shrine to worship.

Netanyahu's statement came after three Palestinians opened fire on Israelis near the site, wounding three before fleeing into the compound where they were killed in a gunfight with security forces.

Part of the area around where the shooting took place has been closed off by police.

The Muslim-administered site is revered by both Muslims and Jews.

The victims were in the patrol unit of the border police on the Temple mount.

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The palestinian authorities in Ramallah, in the occupied west bank, have condemned the closure of the esplanade of the Mosques and the Jordan, the guardian of the holy places of Jerusalem has called for a "reopening" immediate of the site to enable the faithful to pray.

Police officials said officers shot two of the assailants dead at the site.

The esplanade is revered by jews as the Temple mount.

In two tweets on Friday afternoon, U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who has been meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials here this week, welcomed Abbas' call to Netanyahu as "important" and condemned praise for the attack by Palestinian militant groups.

The Israeli police claimed the Palestinian fatalities comprised "attackers", who had fired at its forces before being shot themselves.

"Israeli police detained my father in a violent manner and took him to an unknown destination", Omar, son of the grand mufti, said. A few of the attacks were carried out by Arab Israeli citizens.

Reuters video footage showed the mufti being escorted away by a man in plain clothes through a crowd of Palestinians gathered near the compound gate.

Two Ukrainian tourists were killed in the attack, as it emerges the knifeman appeared to have swam from a nearby public beach to access the Sunny Days El Palacio hotel.

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