Israeli police killed at Temple Mount

Gunmen hid out overnight in Jerusalem holy shrine before slaying two Israeli police officers

It described the closure as a crime, a serious precedent and a blatant attack on the holy sites and an attack on the rights and freedom of Palestinians to practice their religious rites.

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.

They had been armed with guns and knives, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. This marked the first time in 17 years that the mosque was closed for Friday prayers. The troops gave chase, engaged and shot the terrorists dead inside the complex.

Israel's highly unusual decision of closing the al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Friday prayers triggered anger from Palestinians and authorities in Jordan, the holy site's custodian.

Forty Israelis, two USA tourists and a British student have been killed in Palestinian stabbings, shootings and car-rammings.

Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, identified the attackers as Muhammad Ahmed Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamid Jabarin, 19; and Muhammad Ahmed Mufdal Jabarin, 19.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by the Palestinian leadership. Both of the officers were from the Druze minority, Arabs who belong to an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

One of the mufti's bodyguards, Khaled Hamo, said police "entered the crowd and took the mufti".

Al Jazeera reported that following the incident, Israeli police cleared the Al-Aqsa Mosque and closed it to the public. Gaza's Hamas rulers called the act a "religious war".

A statement from Netanyahu's office confirmed the call.

Israeli border police officers body-search Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City.

On Sunday, dozens of Muslim worshipers held midday prayers outside the compound, at an entrance to the site next to the Lions' Gate entry to the Old City, in a bid to show their dissent with the newly-implemented measures.

The president of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference and two committee chairmen condemned "in the strongest possible terms" the fatal shooting of two Israeli police officers July 14 in Jerusalem's Old City near some of the world's holiest sites.

The Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini called for the security arrangements to return to how they were before the deadly attack, saying it "shouldn't be an excuse for making changes".

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