By Anees Bargouti
Israeli army troops on Wednesday shot dead three Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli police and eyewitnesses.
In a statement, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said three Palestinians allegedly brandishing knives, guns and explosives had been killed near the Old City of Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate.
According to the Israeli police, the three Palestinians had attacked a group of Israeli soldiers -- injuring three of them -- before they were gunned down.
"Two female soldiers suffer from serious injuries, while a male soldier was lightly wounded," a police statement read.
The Palestinian Health Ministry, meanwhile, confirmed the death of three Palestinians -- all of whom hailed from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin -- in Jerusalem.
According to ministry figures, Wednesday's deaths bring the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of the current Palestinian uprising in October of last year to 170, including 35 minors.
The violence has also left 30 Israelis dead and 310 injured over the same period.
In a related development on Tuesday and Wednesday, dozens of extremist Jewish settlers -- backed by Israeli police -- forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to Palestinian officials.
"More than 100 Israeli settlers have forced their way into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex over the last two days under heavy police protection," Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, the Palestinian director of the Al-Aqsa complex, told Anadolu Agency.
"Jewish settlers had tried to perform Talmudic rituals inside the compound, but were prevented from doing so by Muslim worshipers and mosque guards," he added.
According to al-Qiswani, since the beginning of 2016, a total of 570 Jewish settlers and Israeli police have forced their way into the mosque complex.