Early Friday in Jerusalem, three armed Israeli Arabs attacked police units which led to the deaths of two Israeli police officers.
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfield said that one of the three assailants, identified as terrorists from Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, tried to stab an officer. He reported that all three of the "Old City" attackers were killed in a shootout with police and that the injured were all taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.
Rosenfield claimed that two officers injured in the incident had passed away, saying, "I can confirm that the two police officers who were previously in critical condition have died of their wounds in hospital."
It was also reported that the three men had used a knife, pistol, and homemade automatic firearm in the attack.
According to BBC, the men carrying out the attack were between the ages of 19 and 29. The report added Israel's Shin Bet security agency had no previous information about the men. Police claim that the gunmen started firing their weapons as they made their way from the Temple Mount to the Lions' Gate. First responders were able to push the gunmen back into the compound, where they were killed by police.
The two policemen critically injured in the attack were Advanced Staff Sergeant Major Kamil Shanan, 22, and Advanced Staff Sergeant Major Hail Sattawi, 30, who both have now succumbed to their injuries. The two both hailed from Israel's northern Galilee region.
According to the Associated Press, a relative of the three assailants claimed that they were devout Muslims who frequently visited the shrine, a location revered by Muslim and Jews in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released a statement stating that an investigation of the incident would continue into the weekend and that the shrine would be opened to visitors and worshippers after the work is completed.
The Old City has been described as a "flashpoint in the conflict" by BBC Jerusalem correspondent Tom Bateman, as it has experienced a rise in violence since 2015 of lone wolf attacks. Although Israel has a history of being tested by these attacks, the severity of this most recent one, as well as the issue of the attackers not coming up in the system, show that the country has a very unnerving and unpredictable future ahead of them as they brace for the next inevitable violent incident.
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