A man detained by Israeli police near a Jerusalem mosque complex grabbed an officer’s gun and fired, prompting the unit to shoot him dead, the force said Saturday, describing the incident as a terror attack.
The overnight incident on the edge of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, an icon of Palestinian nationalism, came at a high point of Muslim attendance for the holy month of Ramadan.
The holy site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, remained relatively quiet on Saturday.
Police identified the dead man as a 26-year-old resident of Hura, a Bedouin village in southern Israel. Mansour Abbas, a politician whose United Arab List party is popular in that area, said he was a medical student and disputed the police account.
Reuters could not immediately verify the account independently. Police said the incident took place in a location not covered by security cameras. Images of similar incidents in the past have generally surfaced in a short time.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are escalating after months of violence in areas of Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, and friction in al-Aqsa has often sparked violence in recent years.
US-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in a 1967 war, have stalled for nearly a decade and show no signs of resuming.