Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque in lock down


The al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem has been locked down by Israeli police following an attack carried out by three assailants.

The attack occurred outside the hilltop referred to as the Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif by Muslims. According to reports, the assailants opened fire on police as they were walking from the sacred compound towards the Lions’ Gate area of the Old City walls.

Police then pursued the gunmen onto the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, where they were shot and killed.

A number of people were wounded in the attack, with medics saying that two Israeli men were critically injured.

The complex, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque, was then closed, just before Islamic prayers. This is the first time in years that the mosque has been closed.

Friday’s attack comes weeks after an Israeli policewoman was killed by three Palestinians (from the occupied West Bank) in a knife and gun attack outside the Old City.

Attacks over the last two years have killed 42 Israelis, while more than 240 Palestinians have been killed in the same period. Israel says that the majority of the Palestinians killed have been the attackers, while others have died in clashes with Israeli military.

Palestinian leadership is blaming frustration stemming from years of Israeli occupation as the motive behind the attacks, while Israel blames Palestinian incitement.