Four Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli forces early Friday morning, while two Israelis were shot and killed by Palestinian gunmen in the deadliest day for Palestinian civilians in more than one year. The attack on the Israelis resulted in Israeli forces blockading the Al Aqsa mosque compound and preventing Friday prayer for the first time since 1967, according to Palestinian sources.
In Jerusalem, three Palestinians were shot dead around 7 a.m. by Israeli forces after carrying out a shooting attack near Lions’ Gate in the Old City, during which two Israeli officers were killed by the Palestinian gunmen, according to Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld. Another Israeli officer was lightly to moderately wounded in the attack.
Hours earlier Israeli forces raided Dheisha refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem during pre-dawn raids, shooting and killing an 18-year-old resident of the camp during clashes that broke out in protest of the soldiers’ presence.
The three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem were Palestinian citizens of Israel from the Palestinian town of Umm al-Fahm, identified by Rosenfeld as Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Jabareen, 29, Mohammed Hamed Abd Al-Latif Jabareen, 19, and Mohammed Ahmed Mafdal Jabareen, 19.
The Israeli police officers who were shot and killed by the Palestinian gunmen have yet to be identified.
In a video published online, one of the Palestinians lay on the ground in the Al Aqsa mosque compound after being shot and injured. Moments later the Palestinian jumps to his feet, only to be shot down and riddled with bullets after he collapsed again on the ground.
Following the shooting, Israeli forces blockaded the mosque compound, not allowing worshippers into the area.
According to Ma’an News Agency, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, said that it was the first time that Israel had prevented Muslims from performing Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa since 1967.
While Hamas did not claim responsibility for the attack, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the attack in Jerusalem was “a natural reaction to Israeli terror and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and is proof of the continuing resistance to the occupation and that the Palestinian people are united and supportive of the resistance.”
Friday was the deadliest day of civilian casualties since March 8, 2016, when three Palestinians were killed in Tel Aviv after carrying out an attack that left one tourist dead and 12 Israelis wounded. On the same day a 55-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead after allegedly attempting a knife attack on Israeli forces in the Old City of Jerusalem.
On January 8 of this year one Palestinian was shot and killed after ramming a truck into four Israeli soldiers who were killed in the attack.
Since the start of 2017, 43 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, while ten Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.