JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli police shot and killed a man who allegedly tried to steal a policeman’s weapon at a Jerusalem hotspot Friday night, police said.
The police said that the murdered man was 26 years old and from an Arab village in the south of Israel.
Authorities said the incident in Jerusalem’s Old City occurred when police stopped a man for questioning outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is Islam’s third holiest shrine.
Footage widely shared on social media shows Israeli police heavily deployed in the alleys and gates leading to the compound after the shooting. Clashes broke out between the police and Palestinian vendors and worshipers who spend the night praying in the mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.
More than 200,000 Palestinians gathered earlier for midday Friday prayers at the compound, and the ceremony ended without the usual clashes with Israeli police.
Jews also revere the hilltop compound as the Temple Mount, and incidents in previous years have spilled over into clashes in the West Bank and fighting between Israel and Gaza’s ruler Hamas.
Since last spring, violence between Israel and the Palestinians has been high. According to the Associated Press, 86 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli or settler gunfire this year. Palestinian attacks killed 15 Israelis in the same period.
Israel says most of those killed were militants. But youths who threw stones protesting against police raids and people who were not involved in the clashes were also killed.
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians claim these territories for their future independent state.