A balloon flies near the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, and to Jews as Temple Mount in this file photo Getty

Three assailants were shot dead by Israeli security forces after they opened fire at a group of Israelis in Jerusalem's Old City. Three Israelis were wounded in the shooting and among them, two were critically injured.

Three armed men opened fire at Temple Mount after recognising there were police officers present at the gate. This triggered a brief gunfight between the attackers and policemen resulting in the killing of all three gunmen.

Police found two rifles and a pistol on the bodies of the gunmen. Security personnel have cordoned off the area and closed the complex. Friday prayers have also been cancelled for the first time in several years. Though the exact identities of the attackers are not clear, Al Jazeera reported that they were Palestinians.

Two of the injured victims are thought to be in critical condition owing to gunshot wounds while the third one was fully conscious. "He [the third victim] was suffering from wounds to his neck and limbs, and following medical treatment on the scene he was also evacuated in moderate condition," a paramedic at the scene told a local daily Arutz Sheva.

All three wounded Israelis are men in their thirties. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack and it is still unclear how the attackers managed to bring the weapons into the Temple Mount.