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Palestinians reject ISIL claim of Jerusalem attacks

Hamas says ISIL claim that three of its fighters attacked Israeli police is false and an attempt to 'muddy the waters'.

Jerusalem's Old City

Palestinian groups have rejected ISIL's claim of responsibility for Friday's attacks in Jerusalem, which left one Israeli police officer killed and resulted in Israeli soldiers killing three Palestinians.

It is the first attack in Israeli-occupied territory claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group. But the statement it released on Saturday appeared to have major discrepancies with Friday's events.

Three Palestinians attacked officers at the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem late on Friday and were killed by Israeli security forces.

Another Palestinian man from Hebron was also injured by Israeli security forces, despite playing no role in the attacks.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that administers the Gaza Strip, dismissed ISIL's claim, saying the three attackers had come from among its own ranks, as well as the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman, said the ISIL claim was an attempt to "muddy the waters", adding that the attack was carried out by "two Palestinians from the PFLP and a third from Hamas", AFP news agency reported.

The killing was "a natural response to the crimes of the occupier", he said.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency identified the three Palestinians as Bara Saleh, born in 1998; Adel Ankoush, born in 1999; and Asama Atta, born in 1998.

All three men were from the village of Deir Abu Mashal, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

The PFLP said Salah and Atta had recently been released from several months in Israeli prison.

The names differ from those reported by ISIL, which said the attack was carried out by three brothers by the names of Abu al-Bara'a al-Maqdisi, Abu Hassan al-Maqdisi, and Abu Rabah al-Maqdisi, AFP reported.

'Shoot-to-kill'

Since October 2015, about 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, with many instances occurring within close range or during protests in occupied territory.

A number of local and international human rights groups have raised concerns that Israeli security forces have employed a "shoot-to-kill" policy when confronting Palestinians.

The Israeli police relaxed its open-fire regulations in December 2015, permitting officers to fire, with live ammunition, on those suspected of throwing stones or firebombs as an initial option, without having to use non-lethal weapons first.

About 42 Israelis have also been killed in attacks carried out by Palestinians since October 2015.

Palestinians say those attacks result from anger over decades of Israeli occupation.


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