GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza's militant Hamas rulers on Saturday called on Palestinians to attack Israeli forces in Jerusalem after a sacred site was closed following a deadly assault there.
Hamas described the closure of the site — known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount — in a statement as a "religious war" and Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the Palestinian "uprising" to target the Israeli army and West Bank settlers.
Israel made the rare move after three Palestinian assailants opened fire there Friday, killing two Israeli police officers before being shot dead. The attackers were devout Muslim citizens of Israel.
On Saturday, the White House condemned the attack in a strongly-worded statement.
"The people of the United States are heartbroken that terrorists brutally gunned down two Israeli police officers," said Press Secretary Sean Spicer. "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."
Hamas staged a rally celebrating the attack
The Muslim-administered site is revered by both Muslims and Jews. Israel says it won't reopen before Sunday.