Two police officers were shot and killed Friday as they patrolled the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities said.
The Israeli police released, Friday, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, who was abducted earlier following the fatal shooting in Jerusalem that led to the death of three Palestinians and two Israeli officers.
The three attackers were armed with two machine guns, a pistol and a knife, according to Israeli police. "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".
An Al Jazeera report claimed the deceased were "three Palestinians". The compound is considered the holiest site in Jerusalem for both Jews and Muslims, as it houses both the al-Aqsa mosque and the Western Wall.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident the area was cleared of visitors and closed, with police announcing that Friday prayers, usually attended by thousands, would be cancelled.
The site has been a flashpoint for violence in the past, with friction there sparking major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian violence, including a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation that lasted several years.
The Haram al-Sharif / Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Palestinians fear Israel may one day seek to assert further control over it.
Following the attack, all entrances to the Old City have been put under lockdown.
Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called it an "extremely severe event which crossed all red lines".
In Jerusalem near the Temple mount shooting occurred.
"No religion allows this", he said, referring to praying on the side of the road.
Jerusalem is still in the grip of a series of Palestinian street attacks that began in 2015, though the violence has slowed.
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.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Transportation Minister said the attack was part of a "battle for Jerusalem" and an effort to "undermining our control" of the city by targeting holy sites for attacks.