2 Palestinians in knife attack on Israel police, one shot dead: officials

Israeli security forces gather at the site of a reported stabbing attack at one of the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of annexed east Jerusalem (AFP Photo/Ahmad GHARABLI)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Two Palestinian youths attacked Israeli police with knives in Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday before being shot by officers, leaving one of the assailants dead, officials said.

Israeli police said an officer was moderately wounded and that the two assailants were shot.

The Palestinian health ministry said one was killed, while Israel's Shaare Tzedek hospital said the second was left in critical condition.

Another person in the area was injured in the leg, police said, without providing further details.

Tensions ran high in Jerusalem's Old City this week after overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays led to clashes at a flashpoint holy site.

The clashes on Sunday between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, wounded dozens of Palestinians and four police.

Sunday marked the start of the four-day Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and thousands of Palestinians prayed at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

It coincided with the Jewish Tisha B'av holiday, resulting in an increase in visits by Jewish religious nationalists to the holy site.

In a bid to ease tensions, police initially barred Jewish visits to the site on Sunday but Muslim worshippers still feared they would be allowed in and protested there, leading to clashes.

After relative calm returned and following criticism from Israeli far-right politicians, police then opened the site to Jewish visits, sparking further violence.

The compound in east Jerusalem that includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock is one of the most sensitive sites in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel sees the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians view the eastern sector as the capital of a future state of their own.