Raising the Standard of Truth (Page 6)

Islamic State Rolls Out Wheelchair-Bound Executioner

A photo released by the Islamic State group purported to show a wheelchair-bound militant taking part in the execution of accused spies. (Image source: Islamic State photo essay)

The Islamic State group has circulated a photo essay appearing to show a wheelchair bound jihadist somehow involved in the execution of captives.

The Site Intelligence Group research organization reported Wednesday that the series of still photos was posted by the Tripoli Province, a division of the Islamic State in Libya.

Photos seemed to show the execution and crucifixion of men accused of being spies against the jihadist group.

This photo gained special attention due to the appearance of the jihadist in a wheelchair.

A photo released by the Islamic State group purported to show a wheelchair-bound militant taking part in the execution of accused spies. (Image source: Islamic State photo essay)

The accused spy in an orange jumpsuit and rope tied around his torso kneeled in front of the masked man in fatigues sitting in the wheelchair.

The militant’s involvement in the mechanics of the killing and stringing up of the accused spy was not explained, and it was unclear if he was permanently disabled or temporarily recovering from an injury.

A second photo in the essay showed a man in orange jumpsuit strung up on a makeshift crucifix with a sign on him that included the Arabic word for spy.

The photo was captioned “the execution of spies in the city of Sirte,” Britain’s Sun newspaper reported.

TheBlaze is unable to independently authenticate the photos.

Paul Ryan Has a Message for Critics of Prayer in the Media and on Twitter

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4,2016 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast, the annual meeting of the city's political and religious leaders. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

During a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) took aim at critics of prayer in the press and on social media

“I have noticed a growing impatience with prayer in our culture,” Ryan said Thursday. “You see it in the papers or on twitter. When people say they’re praying for someone or something, the attitude in some quarters seems to be, ‘Don’t just pray; do something about it.’”

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

After December’s terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California, many public figures called for prayers for the victims. The New York Daily News came out with a cover the next day that many found offensive, which said, “God Isn’t Fixing This.”

“When you are praying, you are doing something about it. You are revealing the presences of God,” Ryan said. “Whenever people are in grief or even when they’re about to start a great undertaking, they feel the world pain of all. They feel alone. How am I going to get through this? Why is this happening? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Ryan also went on to remind listeners, “Our rights come from God.”

Obama: ‘Jesus Is a Good Cure for Fear’

President Barack Obama speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4,2016 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast, the annual meeting of the city's political and religious leaders. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

At his final National Prayer Breakfast as president, Barack Obama said his Christian faith helped him overcome fear as commander in chief and that faith can help the country overcome fear.

“Like every president, like every leader, like every person, I’ve known fear,” the president said Thursday morning. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

President Barack Obama speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama did not delve directly into politics but has often accused Republicans — including some 2016 presidential candidates — of stoking fear.

“Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different or lead us to try to get some sinister other under control,” Obama said. “Alternatively, fear can lead us to succumb to despair, or paralysis or cynicism. Fear can feed our most selfish impulses and erode the bonds of community. It is a primal emotion, fear, one that we all experience. It can be contagious. If we let it consume us, the consequences of that fear can be worse than any outward threat.”

But Obama added that faith could conquer fear.

“Faith is the great cure for fear. Jesus is a good cure for fear,” Obama said. “God gives believers the power, the love, the sound mind, required to conquer any fear. What more important moment for that faith than right now. What better time than for these changing, tumultuous times than to have Jesus standing beside us, steadying our minds, cleansing our hearts, pointing us towards what matters.”

Speaking at the Christian event, Obama also noted that he visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore Wednesday and a Jewish event last week at the Israeli Embassy in Washington commemorating the Holocaust.

“I’ve drawn strength from witnessing … good people of all faiths who do the Lord’s work each and every day,” Obama said.

Two Pictures of Israeli and Palestinian Leaders Reveal Two Very Different Views on Terrorism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a female Border Police officer wounded in a Palestinian attack in Jerusalem. (Photo: Israel Government Press Office)

Shortly after an attack that — given the weapons brought by the Palestinian assailants — might have resulted in a bloodbath near Jerusalem’s holy sites Wednesday, Palestinian and Israeli leaders held vastly different photo ops, which offered insight into their attitudes toward terrorism.

To recap: three Palestinian men from the West Bank armed with knives, Carl Gustav rifles and pipe bombs, arrived at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City where they shot and stabbed two female Israeli police officers, killing 19-year-old Hadar Cohen, who was recruited only two months ago.

The assailants were swiftly killed by other members of the Israeli Border Police unit that was patrolling the area at the time.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, just hours after the attack, invited to his office the families of Palestinians who were killed while launching violent attacks on Israelis. The president’s office posted video of the meeting on YouTube and gave it prominent placement in the center of the president’s office website’s home page.

“Your sons are martyrs,” Abbas told the families, according to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonoth. Abbas’ invitees included relatives of a Palestinian assailant who killed a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen and two Israelis Oct. 13.

https://twitter.com/ofirgendelman/status/695143484207009792

By contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday visited the policewoman wounded in the Jerusalem attack the day before and lauded her for helping prevent what might have been a massacre.

“Hadar operated heroically, resolutely, and courageously. She gave her life in order to save the lives of many others. All of us join Hadar’s family in mourning. May her memory be a blessing,” Netanyahu posted on Facebook, adding that the police had “thwarted a huge terrorist attack.”

At her bedside, Netanyahu praised the wounded policewoman — whose name was not released — for her actions. Here’s the photo from his visit:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a female Border Police officer wounded Wednesday in a Palestinian attack in Jerusalem. (Image source: Israel Government Press Office)

“Your reactions and your resourcefulness prevented terrible disasters. The entire Israeli people embrace you and hope that you will recover quickly,” Netanyahu said according to a transcript provided by his office.

The unnamed police officer told Netanyahu, “We are here to protect civilians. This is what we were drafted for and this is why we are here. … I understood that Hadar saved my life.”

Netanyahu vowed Thursday to fight the wave of nearly daily violent Palestinian attacks on Israelis that began in September, and compared the Palestinian terrorism to Islam-fueled attacks around the world.

“Islamic terrorism is inundating the world and inciting millions in many countries, from Jakarta to Africa to California. We are part of this turmoil, it is not skipping over us, and we are fighting it with great strength and will continue to do so,” Netanyahu said.

Hollywood Firebrands Reveal the Shocking Jobs They Took After Immigrating to the U.S. — and How Their Hard Work Paid Off

Roma Downey, left, and Mark Burnett arrive at the People's Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are known for producing family friendly and Bible-based entertainment, but it was their personal stories of immigrating to the U.S. and achieving the “American dream” that took center stage during Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast.

The husband and wife duo each shared their individual rags to riches stories, with Burnett telling the more than 3,000 people in attendance at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., about his move decades ago from London to Los Angeles after leaving the British Army at age 22.

Burnett said that he had “zero skills” at that time, but that he had a friend who was living in Los Angeles and working as a chauffeur. That friend had suggested that Burnett also consider doing the same job, but available positions were apparently hard to come by.

It didn’t take long, though, for a different job posting to catch Burnett’s eye: a live-in nannying position in Beverly Hills.

“It paid $125 per week and the job included a room, a car — and even cable TV,” he said, noting that it involved cleaning and child care.

Roma Downey, left, and Mark Burnett arrive at the People’s Choice Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Burnett said that his friend was skeptical, saying that the position likely wouldn’t work out.

“I remember him saying, ‘How are you going from being a commando yesterday to Mary Poppins today?” he said. “I was desperate, so I showed up that night … for a job interview. It was crazy.”

Burnett said that the husband who was interviewing him for the job made no bones about the fact that he couldn’t understand why the 22-year-old Army veteran would be seeking a live-in nannying and housekeeping position.

“I can irons shirts with a crease so sharp you can shave with it,” Burnett recounted saying in a desperate attempt to sell himself.

To his surprise, he landed the job — his first position after immigrating to the U.S. Today, he’s one of the most successful TV producers.

“I began the next day in America as a domestic-help nanny housekeeper,” he said, describing the position as a springboard that helped him achieve the American dream. “It’s just really amazing.”

Burnett later went on to become a firebrand in Hollywood, creating shows like “Survivor,” “The Voice,” and “The Bible,” among many others. And in 2014, when Burnett became president of MGM Television and Digital Group, he said that something fascinating happened.

“I was given an office on the top floor of MGM … [with an] incredible view of the Hollywood sign [and] Beverly Hills and then it dawned on me,” he said. “I looked out the window … and I could actually see the house where I was a nanny.”

He added, “This can only happen in America! It’s the American dream.”

Downey, too, shared her story of growing up amid violence in Northern Ireland, describing one incident that unfolded when she was just 10 years old and visiting her mother’s grave site.

“A fierce gun battle broke out in the cemetery and I narrowly missed being shot,” Downey said. “The bullet hole singed the coat I was wearing and missed my head by inches. Surely I must have had an angel looking over me that day.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Producer Mark Burnett (L) and his wife actress Roma Downey arrive at Operation Smile's 30th Anniversary Smile Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 28, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: Getty Images Producer Mark Burnett (L) and his wife actress Roma Downey arrive at Operation Smile’s 30th Anniversary Smile Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 28, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty Images)

As she grew up, Downey said that the American dream, for her, “represented freedom and opportunity,” saying that the yearning to achieve it had been born in her heart as a youth.

Like her husband, Downey, too, moved to the U.S., initially living in New York City, where she worked checking coats in an expensive restaurant and typically received very small tips.

She recalled how talk show legend Regis Philbin once showed up to the restaurant and tipped her $20 — an act that absolutely stunned her, considering the much smaller tips she was used to getting.

Then, a few years later — having found success acting — Downey said that she was in Los Angeles starring on “Touched By an Angel” when she was called back to New York to appear on Philbin’s show. She told him the story and he had a good chuckle.

“Checking coats one minute. Starring on TV the next,” she said, citing the American dream.

As TheBlaze previously reported, during a separate speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also took aim at critics of prayer in the press and on social media. During his final prayer breakfast while in office, President Barack Obama also delivered a message about not allowing fear to take over.

Take a Look at What These U.S. Presidents Had to Say About History, Faith and the Founding Fathers

President Barack Obama, center, acknowledges applauds from first lady Michelle Obama and other guests after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Leaders from both political parties joined more than 3,000 pastors, faith leaders and individuals representing 130 countries for the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning, with President Barack Obama delivering a message about “fear.”

The signature faith-based event in February of each year is traditionally attended by sitting presidents, first ladies, members of Congress and well-known speakers who collectively come together to discuss the power of faith and to encourage audiences to embrace prayer.

Before the event, organizers placed a small booklet at each attendees seat; it included text from some of the most memorable prayer breakfast speeches that presidents have delivered since the event first kicked off back in 1942.

President Barack Obama, center, acknowledges applauds from first lady Michelle Obama and other guests after speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Included in the booklet was an address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in which he made his views on the importance of religion in society more than clear.

“You can’t explain free government in any other terms than religious,” he said. “The Founding Fathers had to refer to the creator in order to make their revolutionary experience make sense; it was because ‘all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights’ that man would dare to be free.”

He continued, “They wrote their religious faith into our founding documents, stamped their trust in God upon the faces of our coins and currency, and put it boldly at the base of our institutions.”

President John F. Kennedy also expressed his belief that U.S. presidents find themselves appealing to the Almighty to deal with all of the elements that comes along with their complicated position.

“No man who enters upon the office in which I have succeeded, can fail to recognize how every president of the United States has placed special reliance upon his faith in God,” he said. “We must recognize that human collaboration is not enough, that in times such as these we must reach beyond ourselves if we are to seek ultimate courage and infinite wisdom.”

In yet another separate speech, President Lyndon B. Johnson added his belief that man’s embrace of God has helped sustain the nation.

“Since the United States first stood on it feet among the nations of the Earth, the men who have guided her destiny have had the strength for their tasks by going to their knees,” Johnson said. “This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of strength for our nation and for our cause.”

President Gerald R. Ford once said during a National Prayer Breakfast speech that “man’s wisdom and strength are not sufficient,” and said that he attempts to practice the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, which he recited as follows: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.”

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Jimmy Carter implored the audience to hold on to the elements in life that offer consistency and sustenance, saying that, in a “rapidly changing world, we need to cling to things that don’t change — to truth and justice, to fairness, to brotherhood, to love and to faith.”

Citing ideas that are present in the Christian scriptures, President Ronald Reagan said during his address, “I’m convinced more than ever that man finds liberation only when he binds himself to God and commits himself to his fellow man.”

During his final prayer breakfast address on Thursday, President Barack Obama addressed the topic of fear.

“Like every president, like every leader, like every person, I’ve known fear,” Obama said. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

White House Explains Why Obama Won’t Call Islamic State’s Murder of Christians ‘Genocide’

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Baltimore, Md. Obama is making his first visit to a U.S. mosque at a time Muslim-Americans say they're confronting increasing levels of bias in speech and deeds.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that Obama administration attorneys are researching whether the violence the Islamic State is committing against Christians meets the legal definition of genocide.

A reporter, citing the atrocities and murders in Iraq and Syria, asked Earnest, “Why won’t the Obama administration call this genocide, Christian genocide?”

Earnest responded that the term genocide has “legal ramifications.”

“There are lawyers considering whether or not that term can be properly applied in this scenario,” Earnest said. “What is clear and what is undeniable and what the president has now said twice in the last 24 hours is that we know that there are religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria, including Christians, that are being targeted by ISIL terrorists because of their religion and that attack on religious minorities is an attack on all people of faith and it is important for all of us to stand up and speak out about it.”

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Muslim-American community at the Islamic Society of Baltimore on Wednesday.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

On Wednesday, Obama denounced attacks on people of faith while speaking at the Islamic Society of Baltimore and repeated the sentiment Thursday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Many have insisted the large-scale murder of Christians by the Islamic State is clearly genocide.

The reluctance by the Obama administration is most likely based on obligations under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said.

“If they don’t think there is enough evidence of genocide against Christians and Yazidis, I’m not sure what they’re waiting for,” Weber told TheBlaze. “This is based on a political fear. There is moral and legal weight behind calling it genocide. Under the treaty, parties must prevent and punish genocide.”

Citing the treaty, Weber said the Islamic State’s slaughter and torture of Christians meet the treaty’s criteria for genocide, which include any of the following:

● Killing members of the group

● Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

● Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

● Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

● Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

At the White House press briefing, the reporter followed, “The distinction of genocide provides people persecuted with the ability to come to the United States seeking refuge. When will this happen?”

Earnest said the terminology doesn’t change the administration’s serious response in combatting the Islamic State.

“This is an open question and one that continues to be considered by administration lawyers,” Earnest said. “I can tell you that the president was quite blunt in talking about the responsibility that all people of faith have in standing up for individuals who are targeted for their faith, particularly religious minorities and particularly the people who are marginalized because of their minority status based on the religion they practice.”

Earnest noted that the Islamic State has also targeted Yazidis and Shia Muslims.

“This administration has worked hard to try to protect religious minorities who are being victimized by ISIL. There is no doubt that Christians are among those who have been and are being targeted,” Earnest said. “As it relates to the specific use of this word — the decision to apply this term to this situation is an important one, it has significant consequences and it matters for a whole variety of reasons both legal and moral. But it doesn’t change our response. The fact is that this administration has been aggressive even though that term has not been applied in trying to protect religious minorities who are victims or potential victims of violence.”

Phoenix City Council Votes to Stop Having Opening Prayers in Response to the Satanic Temple’s Bid to Pray

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Phoenix City Council voted 5-4 to cease including opening prayers during its meetings in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding the local Satanic Temple’s bid to deliver a prayer on Feb. 17.

The trouble began when two members from Phoenix City’s local Satanic Temple asked to be allowed to deliver the opening prayer during one of the council’s meetings, the Arizona Republic reported. After the Satanic Temple members were placed in the prayer rotation for the Feb. 17 meeting, the deeply divided council’s arguments for and against allowing them pray during the proceedings drew vast national attention.

On Wednesday, more than 100 people attended a council meeting, many of whom came to oppose the Satanic invocation, according to the Republic. The testimonies that followed went on for more than two hours as the council debated whether to reject the Satanic Temple’s prayer bid while still accepting other religions or to ban opening prayers across the board. Ultimately, the council voted 5-4 to ban opening prayers entirely while instituting in their stead a “moment of silence.”

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“If they don’t want to accept, constitutionally what must happen is that all voices must be taken down from the public forum,” Stu de Haan, a Satanic Temple member who submitted the group’s request, had said when the controversy first arose, according to the Arizona Republic. “It’s basically all voices must be heard or none at all.”

Many attendees ardently opposed the moment of silence.

“This is what that Satanist group wants,” said Councilman Sal DiCiccio, adding that this decision was a “big win” for the Satanic Temple, according to the Arizona Republic. “A moment of silence is basically a banning of prayer. It’s to agree to the Satanic goal to ban prayer.”

“I am not for the silent prayer,” Pastor Darlene Vasquez said while crying at the microphone, the Republic noted. “I want those who believe in the one true God to pray. It breaks my heart to hear what is going on.”

But Mayor Greg Stanton, alongside four other council members, voted to institute the moment of silence in lieu of engaging in a lawsuit against the Satanic Temple members.

“The First Amendment to the Constitution is not ambiguous on this issue,” Stanton said, the Arizona Republic reported. “Discriminating against faiths would violate the oath that all of us on this dais took. I personally take that very, very seriously.”

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He Reportedly Took Confessions, Celebrated Mass and Performed Baptisms for Years. But There’s a Truly Bizarre and Disturbing Twist.

Erwin Mena (Los Angeles Police Department)

He reportedly went by the title “padre,” took confessions, performed baptisms and celebrated Mass. But police claim that Erwin Mena was conning the faithful, as he allegedly posed as a priest for years, tricking and stealing money from congregants, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mena, 59, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of perjury and grand theft, with Los Angeles police claiming that he set up faux trips for people to see Pope Francis during his U.S. visit in both New York and Philadelphia, among other purported acts that defrauded the faithful.

“Over the course of several years, Mena visited multiple Catholic Parishes throughout the Los Angeles Area and portrayed himself as a Catholic Priest,” read a statement from the LAPD. “Mena officiated church ceremonies and solicited donations on behalf of the church(s), but kept the money for himself.”

Erwin Mena (Los Angeles Police Department)

Police say that Mena posed as a priest at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Los Angeles, California, for about five months starting in Jan. 2015, and that he traveled to churches trying to sell and promote a CD and a book that he claimed to have written.

It was the pastor of St. Ignatius who ended up reporting Mena to authorities in June, according to the Times.

When police met with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and an investigator for the church, officials learned that Mena might have been posing as a priest since the mid 1990s, with his name reportedly appearing on a list of faux priests to beware of since at least 2008.

In need of a substitute pastor, though, the head of St. Ignatius reportedly didn’t consult that list, allowing Mena to worship there.

Mena is accused of a variety of offenses, though the biggest purported scam involved allegedly taking between $500 and $1,000 from parishioners who were interested in going to New York and Philadelphia to see Pope Francis last year. That trip never came to fruition.

“We were thinking, ‘Oh, we’ll have this great time in New York. We’ll see the pope and it will be a great experience,'” Michelle Rodriguez, a woman who had planned to go on the trip, told the Times. “He used us, he stole from us, and that’s it.”

The archdiocese has reimbursed some victims, a marriage that Mena reportedly performed has been revisited and anyone seeking sacraments who received them under the so-called “phony” priest is eligible to receive them again.

“We are grateful to the Los Angeles Police Department for working to ensure that Erwin Mena was brought to justice,” the Archdiocese of Los Angeles told CNN in a statement. “Our prayers go out to all the victims of his scam.”

Read more about the story here.

(H/T: Los Angeles Times)

Palestinians Armed With Knives, Guns, Explosives Attack Israeli Police Near Jerusalem Holy Sites

Israeli police officers investigate on the body of one of the reported Palestinian assailants killed during an attack at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on February 3, 2016. Three Palestinians armed with a gun, knives and explosives attacked Israeli police outside Jerusalem's Old City, leaving at least two officers seriously wounded and the attackers shot dead, police and medics said. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Update — The Israel Police announced later Wednesday that one of its officers who sustained wounds in the attack died of her injuries. It tweeted this photo of 19-year-old Israel Border Policewoman Hadar Cohen.

19 year old Hadar Cohen dies in Jerusalem hospital after being shot by Palestinian terrorists in attack today. pic.twitter.com/j3Pq3fH4PV

— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) February 3, 2016

Original story below.

Three Palestinian men reportedly tried to stage a spectacular and deadly attack in Jerusalem Wednesday using guns, knives and explosives. All three were shot dead by police after wounding two Israeli policewomen, the Israel police said.

The female officers were shot and stabbed near Damascus Gate, not far from the city’s major holy sites. One officer sustained critical wounds, while the other was seriously wounded.

The Times of Israel, quoting police sources, reported that the three Palestinians between the ages of 20 and 21 went to Damascus Gate carrying Carl Gustav rifles, knives and two pipe bombs.

Israeli police officers investigate the body of one of the reported Palestinian assailants killed during an attack at Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City Wednesday. Three Palestinians armed with a gun, knives and explosives attacked Israeli police outside Jerusalem’s Old City, leaving at least two officers seriously wounded and the attackers shot dead, police and medics said. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli border police approached them and asked for their identity cards. When one of the Palestinians showed his identity card, another started shooting, the Israel Police said via Twitter.

Members of the police unit quickly fired back and killed all three assailants.

Jerusalem police spokesman Assi Aharoni said that the team’s rapid response prevented a more deadly attack.

Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that bomb disposal experts arrived at the scene where they neutralized two pipe bombs brought by the assailants that had not exploded.

Bomb disposal experts at the scene neutralize 2 pipe bombs that didn’t explode. Attack carried out by 3 terrorists. pic.twitter.com/fA7jhycCga

— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) February 3, 2016

United Hatzolah, a volunteer first responders organization, posted this video showing the mayhem moments after the attack.

DRAMATIC FOOTAGE: Moment after the combined shooting and stabbing attack wounding 2 Israeli Police officers. pic.twitter.com/tRQnmNSh0N

— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) February 3, 2016

Paramedic Nissan Hefetz described the condition of the wounded to Israel’s Channel 2, saying, “When we arrived at the scene we saw two young women, approximately 20 years old, lying on the ground with puncture wounds to the upper body. One was unconscious, the other was still conscious, but dazed.”

Israel has faced nearly five months of daily stabbing, shooting and car-ramming attacks carried out by Palestinians. Many of the stabbing assailants have been teenagers who later won wide praise in the Palestinian community.