Israelisk polis hittar vapen i moskéerna på Tempelberget men inga eldvapen

Police uncover weapons, but no guns, in Temple Mount searches

Eight people arrested, including one suspected of assisting gunmen in terror attack that killed two police officers

July 16, 2017, 3:27 pm
Israeli border policemen install metal detectors outside the Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, on July 16, 2017. (AFP/Menahem KAHANA)

Israeli border policemen install metal detectors outside the Lions’ Gate, a main entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on July 16, 2017. (AFP/Menahem KAHANA)

Police have arrested eight suspects and uncovered dozens of weapons following a deadly terror attack by three Arab Israelis just outside the Temple Mount compound on Friday in which two officers were killed, the Jerusalem Police chief said.

Police believe the shooting attack was carried out with weapons that had previously been stored on the Temple Mount, prompting police to shut down the complex to all visitors on Friday, the most popular day for Muslim prayers on the holy site, and launch a search for other weapons that might be stored there.

However, in the searches on Friday and Saturday, police failed to uncover guns or serious explosives, Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi told Army Radio on Sunday.

“We’ve been all over. Two days is definitely not enough, but we’ve covered large swaths of the area, where we suspected had things hidden in them,” he said.

Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi arrives at the scene of a stabbing attack on the city's light rail near IDF Square in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevi arrives at the scene of a stabbing attack on the city’s light rail near IDF Square in Jerusalem on April 14, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

“We found dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting material, unexploded munitions, stun grenades, binoculars — but we haven’t yet found caches of live ammunition.”

Israel’s decision to close off the holy site — the first time it has taken that measure on a Friday since 1969 — sparked outcries of criticism from across the Middle East, including inside Israel.

Halevi said the attack, in which three Arab Israeli men opened fire at a group of police officers just outside the Temple Mount, was unlike any other in Israel’s history, calling it a “dramatic terror attack in a dramatic place.”

Screenshot from CCTV footage released by police on Friday, July 14, 2017, showing the initial moments of the shooting attack at the Temple Mount which killed two Israeli police officers. (Israel Police)

Screenshot from CCTV footage released by police on Friday, July 14, 2017, showing the initial moments of the shooting attack at the Temple Mount which killed two Israeli police officers. (Israel Police)

“In decades, we’ve never had a terror attack on the Temple Mount, never had police officers killed on the Temple Mount,” Halevi said.

While the three terrorists who carried out the attack were killed on the holy site, after running back there once they’d shot the officers, the two police officers were actually killed just outside the Temple Mount, near the Old City’s Lions Gate, which is close to the entrance to the compound.

Family and friends carry the coffin of Israeli Druze police officer Haiel Sitawe, 30, during his funeral in the northern village of Maghar, July 14, 2017. Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan where killed early on Friday in a shooting attack near the Temple Mount complex in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Family and friends carry the coffin of Israeli Druze police officer Haiel Sitawe, 30, during his funeral in the northern village of Maghar, July 14, 2017. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

In his interview with Army Radio, Halevi tried to stave off expected criticism, saying that officers had worked closely with the Muslim Waqf, which oversees day-to-day religious operations on the Temple Mount, in order to ensure that the site was not “desecrated.”

“Today, when it reopens, there will be those people who will say that we desecrated, that we destroyed, that we broke [things],” said Halevi, speaking shortly before Israel reopened the compound.

Border Police officers stand guard at an entrance to the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

Border Police officers stand guard at an entrance to the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

“The search was coordinated with Waqf officials, including even having one or two Waqf people accompany us so that we don’t desecrate the place,” he said. “We had police officers taking off their shoes before going into the mosque in order to make sure they didn’t desecrate the place.”

Halevi added that he also ordered the Jerusalem municipality to clean the Temple Mount.

At noon on Sunday, the police partially reopened the site, allowing only Jerusalem residents to enter. A series of metal detectors, security checkpoints and additional officers were set up at the entrances, which prompted protests by members of the Waqf who opposed the changes.

In the interview, Halevi said that more changes to the security arrangements for the Temple Mount would be introduced in light of the attack, though he said it would take time before they were implemented. “It’s a long process,” he said

Metal detectors are placed outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, ahead of its reopening on July 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Metal detectors are placed outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, ahead of its reopening on July 16, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In addition to the searches on the Temple Mount itself, the police have also been working to find anyone who may have helped the gunmen — all three of them were named Muhammad Jabarin, from the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel — or known about their plans in advance.

Though details of the investigation are under a gag order, the Jerusalem Police chief violated it, telling the radio station that thus far eight people have been arrested in connection with the attack.

“That includes four [people] in the north, including one who we suspect assisted them, as well as members of the family and their bus driver,” he said.

According to Halevi, though the gunmen reportedly had ties to the Northern Branch [of the Islamic Movement], an outlawed organization that Israel says has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, no one from the group has been arrested thus far.

This file photo taken on November 6, 2015 shows Jerusalem's Mufti Mohammed Hussein posing in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque atTemple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

This file photo taken on November 6, 2015, shows Jerusalem’s Mufti Mohammed Hussein posing in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque atTemple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

In Jerusalem, a number of Waqf officials were arrested over the weekend, questioned and then released, on suspicion of incitement, Halevi said.

The two police officers killed, Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan, both hailed from Druze villages in northern Israel. Both were laid to rest Friday.

Sitawe, 30, came from the town of Maghar, a mostly Druze and Arab city. Shnaan, 22, was from the Druze village of Hurfeish.

Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, right, the police officers killed in the terror attack next to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, right, the police officers killed in the terror attack next to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Sitawe joined the Border Police as part of his mandatory national service. He joined the Israel Police in 2012 and had served in the unit responsible for securing the Temple Mount ever since. He left behind a wife, Irin, a three-week-old son, his parents and three brothers.

Shnaan joined the police directly after high school. He decided to stay on the police force seven months ago, signing on as a career officer.

He was the youngest son of a former Labor Party Knesset member, Shachiv Shnaan. His engagement party to his girlfriend was to be held next week. Shnaan left behind his parents, one brother and three sisters.

Both Shnaan and Sitawe were posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant.

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Det här inlägget postades i Hot mot DEMOKRATI, Islamister / Jihadister, Islamska Staten, Israel, Jordanien, Sunni islam. Bokmärk permalänken.

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