Police clash with Arab rioters at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
Police clash with Arab rioters at Al-Aqsa Mosque compoundJamal Awad/Flash 90

An Arab terrorist on Friday night tried to steal a weapon from a Border Police officer who was stationed at the Chain Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Israel Police said that officers who were at the scene opened fire on the terrorist and eliminated him. There were no reports of injuries among the officers.

Following the incident, according to reports, forces in large numbers were deployed to the area, and the entrances to the Temple Mount were closed.

Clashes also developed between security forces and merchants in the Old City.

The incident comes on the second Friday of the month of Ramadan, which to this point, had proceeded without any unusual incidents.

The terrorist was identified as Muhammad al-Saibi, a 26-year-old medical student from the Israeli Arab town of Hura.

On Saturday, the family of the terrorist submitted a request for their son's body to undergo an autopsy in the presence of a doctor that would be appointed by the family.

According to the police, the incident was not captured by security cameras. "All the security cameras were checked in the area, and unfortunately, the attack itself was not recorded on security cameras or on the body cameras of the police officers who, in those seconds, were fighting the terrorist and working to neutralize him. Contrary to incorrect publications - not every corner in the Old City/Temple Mount has security cameras. Also, the attack did not take place on the outside of the chain gate, which is indeed well documented, but rather on the inside."

The police released footage from moments before the attack in which the terrorist can be seen moving toward the scene. In an additional video from outside the closed entrance to the Temple Mount, civilians can be seen running at the moment the gunshots are heard.

The police added that the investigation of the attack by the Jerusalem District Attorney revealed that the terrorist had recently become more religious. In addition, for a reason that has not yet been clarified, one of his social media accounts was deleted after the attack.

The police have released testimonies of the moments of the attack by officers at the scene: David Precinct police officer “M.” said: "While I was operating together with another policeman and female border police officers who were in the area of ​​the entrance to the Chain Gate, I checked on the suspect. I asked him where he was from and asked him to leave because it was while the area is closed. He argued, and I accompanied him to the exit. At some point, he turned to me, grabbed my weapon that was secured in the holster, and managed to fire several bullets at the officers. I was able to take the weapon out of his hands and neutralized him along with the other police officers. I was sure he intended to shoot all the police officers who were operating at the scene because he aimed and shot at the officers, but luckily he didn't hit anyone."

Another officer from the David Precinct, “Y.” recounted: "While the area was already closed, we asked the suspect to leave the scene, and at some point, he pulled out the weapon from my partner's holster and fired several shots in the direction of female border police officers. My partner managed to control him and prevented him from aiming the weapon at the policewomen. I tried to get my partner's weapon out of his hand, and then I drew my own weapon and fired at him until he was neutralized. I felt a real danger to the lives of all of us, if I hadn't made contact and shot him and neutralized him, he would have shot me, my partner, and the border police officers."

Following the attack, the commander of the Jerusalem District, Doron Turgeman, stated: "I support our policemen and women officers, who acted as expected of them in a life-threatening situation. Stealing a weapon from an officer and shooting at police, along with all the findings and evidence we have so far, suggest that there was a real and immediate danger to their lives, and it was their quick response that prevented an officer from being injured or killed. The investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to respond decisively to any threat to the lives of police officers or civilians"

Clashes between security forces and merchants in the Old City of Jerusalem: