Jerusalem, July 16: The White House strongly condemned an attack that killed two Israeli police officers near the city's holiest site- Temple Mount. The deadly shootout took place in which three Israeli Arabs killed two Israeli Druze policemen.
To this, The White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer said that "The people of the United States are heartbroken that terrorists brutally gunned down two Israeli police officers, and we extend our prayers and sympathies to the families of the victims. The United States strongly condemns the terror attack. There must be zero tolerance for terrorism. It is incompatible with achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it, and eradicate it."
Also, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "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," Netanyahu added.
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."
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. 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. Police also ordered the cancellation of Friday prayers at the site for the first time in years.
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.
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).
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the militant Palestinian group Hamas celebrated it and called for a new intifada. “The Hamas movement praises the guerrilla attack in Jerusalem. It is a legitimate right for our people and the best evidence of their unity in resisting the brutal occupation,” Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanua said.
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.