By Agence France-Presse
The White House said Saturday it “strongly condemns” yesterday’s Jerusalem attack that saw two Israeli police officers shot dead, saying “there must be zero tolerance for terrorism.”
“The United States strongly condemns the terror attack,” the White House statement said of the incident, one of the city’s most serious in years. “There must be zero tolerance for terrorism.”
“It is incompatible with achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it, and eradicate it.”
During Friday’s deadly shooting in Jerusalem’s Old City three Arab Israeli assailants opened fire on Israeli police, killing two, before fleeing to the nearby ultra-sensitive site Haram al-Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, where they were shot dead by police.
Israeli authorities said the attackers had come from the flashpoint holy site, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, to commit the attack.
It is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.
Authorities took the highly unusual decision to close the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers, leading to anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site’s custodian.
“Israel has assured the world that it has no intention to alter the status of this holy site, a decision which the United States applauds and welcomes,” the White House said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that the mosque compound would reopen Sunday.
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