Israeli police martyr three Palestinians in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM: At least three Palestinians were martyred as Israeli police opened fire in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, in one of the most serious incidents in the city in recent years.

Two Israeli police officers also died in the exchange of fire near the Al-Aqsa mosque at the holy site. Videos circulating on social media showed a hail of gunfire ring out in what seemed to be an exchange of bullets between Israeli security forces and the Palestinians.

Security forces locked down the area and the Al-Aqsa mosque was closed to Friday prayers after the incident in a highly unusual move, with the aftermath likely to heighten Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

The Palestinians were martyred at the site known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, the location of regular clashes but where gunfire rarely occurs.

The site includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called it an extremely severe event which crossed all red lines. The investigation is ongoing, he said.