Temple Mount to be opened to prayers on Sunday

Medics treat victims of a shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City

Medics treat victims of a shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City

A relative says three Palestinian assailants who killed two Israeli policemen from inside a Jerusalem holy site were devout Muslims who frequently visited the shrine.

Israeli authorities said they had come from the flashpoint holy site, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, to commit the attack.

The police then announced the closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and prohibition of Friday prayers amid the tensions. Two of the previous attackers were Jordanians.

It is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Palestinians have also pointed out that Israeli violence against civilians has remained a constant factor of everyday life under the occupation, now in its 50th year, regardless of any recent increase in clashes or attacks.

Meanwhile, Lane said the shooting incident in the Jerusalem al-Quds is "tragic" and "it is to be condemned". "This is a decision that aims to deter further attacks and it will be interpreted by most Palestinians as collective punishment".

Despite his assurances, anger has continued to build in the Muslim world over the closure to the Temple Mount and the restrictions on entering the Old City, with the widespread condemnations often making little or no mention of the actual attack.

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The spokesman of the islamist movement Hamas, Sami Abu Zohri, said that the attack was "a natural response to the terrorism of the zionist and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque".

Preliminary reports indicate the three terrorists, all held Israeli identity cards, walked from the Temple Mount to the Lion's Gate where they opened fired on Isaeli security personnel in the area before attempting to flee back to the Temple Mount.

Gradually reopening the site to worshippers and visitors "will be based on an estimate that will be made Sunday", he said.

It is located in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.

President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone on Friday and condemned the shooting, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Jordan is a controlling force over the Waqf, the Mount's Islamic custodians.

The site has been a flashpoint for violence in the past, with friction there sparking major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

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