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3 Palestinians shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills Israeli officer

Feb. 3, 2016 2:55 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 8, 2016 12:58 P.M.)
Israeli police stand in front of Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, Oct. 5, 2015. (AFP/File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Three Palestinians were shot dead Wednesday after they killed an Israeli police officer and wounded another in an armed attack near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City, Israeli police said.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that “three attackers were shot dead at the scene” by Israeli Border Police after carrying out an attack with knives and an automatic weapon.

The three Palestinian youths had attracted the attention of Israeli Border Police officers as they approached Damascus Gate, police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said.

She said they were stopped by the officers, and as one showed their identification card, another pulled out a gun and opened fire. Two female Border Police officers were wounded and evacuated for medical treatment.

One of them, 19-year-old Hadar Cohen, was shot in her head and later pronounced dead at Hadassah Hospital.

A spokesperson for the hospital said that the other police officer, 18 years old, was in moderate condition, having received stab wounds across her body.

Explosive devices were later found near the site, which was cordoned off following the attack, Rosenfeld said, adding that Israeli forces carried out a controlled explosion of the devices.

Rosenfeld said following initial investigations that the three Palestinians were armed with three automatic weapons.

Photo of weapon used at the scene. Photo provided by Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli forces fired stun grenades and pepper spray near the Salah al-Deen Street and Al-Sultan Suliman streets near Damascus Gate to prevent Palestinians from approaching the area.

Witnesses added the forces also stopped a group of people and inspected them in a "humiliating" way.

The three Palestinians killed were identified as Ahmad Rajeh Ismail Zakarneh, Muhammad Ahmad Hilmi Kamil, and Najeh Ibrahim Abu al-Rub from the village of Qabatiya near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an following the attack that Israeli military forces were conducting "additional security checks" on Palestinians entering and exiting the village.

Israeli media reported that two of the three were barred from entrance into Israel and that all three had crossed over illegally. Israeli media reports also said none of the three Palestinians were affiliated with any political organization.

A Palestinian Authority police officer was shot dead earlier this week after he opened fire on Israeli soldiers stationed at an Israeli military checkpoint near the Beit El settlement north of Ramallah in the West Bank.

The attack came shortly after a 17-year-old Israeli was stabbed and injured in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday. Israeli police reported that a 16-year-old Palestinian from an East Jerusalem neighborhood later turned himself in claiming responsibility for the attack.

A wave of attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military and civilians first began in occupied East Jerusalem in October before later spreading to the West Bank.

Jerusalem's Old City had seen a brief period of relative quiet in January, with the last deadly attack taking place there on Dec. 23.

Two Palestinians from Qalandiya refugee camp were shot dead during the incident, after they carried out a stabbing attack outside of the Old City's Jaffa Gate.

The attack left one Israeli dead and another injured, while Israeli media reported that a third Israeli was accidentally shot at the scene by Israeli Border Police and later succumbed to their wounds.

Efforts by actors in the international community to quell recent violence and return Israeli and Palestinian leadership to negotiations have so far failed.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon meanwhile last month criticized Israeli policy, saying that it was "human nature" for Palestinians to react violently to Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation.

Moon condemned the series of violent attacks carried out by Palestinians in recent months, but said that Israeli security measures were failing to "address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians -- especially young people."

Photo taken from social media of the three Palestinians shot dead after carrying out Wednesday's attack
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