"With our without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil--that takes religion." Steven WeinbergJerusalem, Israel -- Three Israeli Arabs shot and killed two police officers and wounded another at the Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.
The sacred compound has been a hotspot for past attacks over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But while it is common for Palestinians to attack Jews without provocation, this attack was not common as it was carried out by Israeli Arabs and raises concerns over the possibility of an escalation of violence toward Israel.
The site has been closed Friday for security reasons and will be swept for weapons. Noon prayers, therefore, will be cancelled and will affect thousands of worshipers.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas uncharacteristically called Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the attack, according to WAFA, the Palestinian news agency. He told Netanyahu that he rejects "any violence from any party, particularly at holy sites."
Mr. Netanyahu assured Abbas that the status quo at the site will be preserved.
The weapons used in the attack were brought into the compound by the attackers, according to Israeli police chief Roni Alsheikh.
The shooting, in fact, began inside the compound, he said, and in response, "a police force charged at the terrorists, killed two and wounded the third. When the wounded assailant was being checked for explosives, he stabbed an officer with a knife he had hidden on his body and killed the officer.
The holy compound is popular with tourists and is the holiest site for Jews and the third-holiest for Muslims.
UPDATE: A Muslim cleric is being held by police for questioning.