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Israeli police kill three Palestinian men who killed female officer

Men were stopped at Damascus Gate and reportedly found to be carrying least one automatic weapon, pipe bombs and knives

Israeli police have killed three young Palestinian men who killed one female police officer and injured another in an attack at an entrance to Jerusalems Old City.

The incident at the Damascus Gate to the Old City occurred when the men were stopped and reportedly found to be armed with a least one automatic weapon, crude pipe bombs and knives, leading to suspicions that they were planning a mass-casualty attack. It was the most serious attack in the city in weeks.

The three dead Palestinians were identified as Ahmed Rajeh Zakarneh, Mohamed Ahmed Kmail and Ahmed Alhelmi, from the town of Qabatiya, near Jenin. Israeli journalists, quoting the Shin Bet Israeli security agency, said none of the men had a prior history of violence.

Police said officers were checking ID cards when one of the suspects drew his gun and opened fire, wounding two female officers in their early 20s, one of whom later died. The officers opened fire and killed the three Palestinians.

This is a combined attack, a serious attack, which was prevented by the vigilance of police at the scene, a police spokeswoman said. One of the two policewomen had apparently been stabbed in the neck several times, and the other had been shot.

After a spate of violence that began in October, it had been quieter in Jerusalem of late, with most recent attacks occurring in the occupied Palestinian territories, including inside Israeli settlements.

On Sunday a Palestinian Authority police officer was shot dead after opening fire on Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Ramallah, in the West Bank.

Since October, Palestinians have killed 26 Israelis and a US citizen, and Israeli forces have killed at least 155 Palestinians, 101 of them assailants, according to authorities, and most of the others protesters.

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