A man grabbed a pistol from an Israeli security guard in Jerusalem's Old City and shot him on Friday, but was shot dead by another guard as he tried to flee, Israeli police said.

Rescue teams reported that nine other people were wounded in the melee.

The assailant wrested the weapon from the guard in the Old City's Christian Quarter, shot him in the shoulder and fled, police and rescue services said. Police said the identity of the assailant remained known. Police described the dead man as "Arab-looking" and between the ages of 18-20, but that he carried no identification.

After the shooting, another guard ran after him, and the two briefly exchanged fire before the assailant was killed, police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. Nine bystanders were wounded by the gunfire and shrapnel, one seriously and the rest lightly, according to rescue services. Among the wounded were Jews, Christians and Armenians, police said. It was not clear if any of the wounded were tourists.

The Israeli government employs the security guards to protect Jewish families and students who live in the Old City.

The Old City of Jerusalem is home to people of all faiths and is divided into four quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. It is also popular with tourists and pilgrims from around the world.

The shooting took place in a touristy alleyway in the Christian quarter near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition says Jesus was stripped, crucified, and finally laid to rest before being resurrected on Easter Sunday.

Despite tensions, attacks in the Old City are rare.

The last attack took place exactly one year ago to the day, when an Italian tourist was stabbed to death by a Palestinian with ties to the Islamic Jihad militant group.

Organized tours of the Old City were not interrupted by the shooting but some of those who neared the bloodstained road expressed concern.

"All the tourists told me, 'We are worried, we are afraid, take us back to the hotel,"' said Shmulik Shamir, an Israeli tour guide.