Israel's closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque a serious precedent: OIC

Israel's closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque a serious precedent: OIC

For the first time in decades, Israel closed the site Friday after an attack by three Arab citizens of Israel who opened fire from the sacred site and killed two police officers before being shot dead.

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 assailants.

The police said they plan to gradually open additional gates, after installing metal detectors. Dozens of worshipers instead conducted their afternoon prayers next to the gate.

"Temple Mount activists have become more emboldened, and the police attitude toward the Jewish activists has become more cooperative and generous", he said.

Israel's Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the attack was "a serious and severe event in which red lines were crossed", adding that security arrangements in and around the site would be reviewed.

A number of Palestinian leaders expressed concerns that Tel Aviv would exploit the attacks to make changes to the status quo on the compound.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, reportedly called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and condemned the attack. The militant Islamist group Hamas, which runs Gaza, praised the attack but did not claim responsibility.

"They are the direct result of an infrastructure of hate and incitement from the Palestinian Authority, elements of the Arab Israeli political leadership and in particular, worldwide bodies like UNESCO, which only acquiesce and inflame the Palestinian campaign of hate, lies and terror against Israel".

"The people of the United States are heartbroken that terrorists brutally gunned down two Israeli police officers", said Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

All three attackers were shot and killed, and the area was closed off, according to Rosenfeld.

The Jerusalem shrine has been the scene of repeated confrontations, including during the current wave of violence over the past two years.

Jordan is the custodian of the compound in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, and has repeatedly denounced what it says are violations of rules at Islam's third holiest site.

The spokesperson warned of the impact of this incident on the peace process, as well as reviving efforts and negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.