Israel to replace metal detectors with handheld ones at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 23, 2017

They were also at the root of the current round that began last week when Arab gunmen fired from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.

On Saturday, Abbas's political party, Fatah, praised the demonstrations against the Israeli metal detectors and asserted that the protests "will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation".

Observers noted that the European Union statement mentioned first that the three Palestinians were killed before the murder of the three Israelis by a Palestinian terorist.

An uncle told reporters that Abed had recently spent two weeks in a Palestinian jail, where he was interrogated by Abbas's security police, who suspected that Abed was plotting to attack Israelis.

But Israel's defence minister Avigdor Lieberman said it can live without security cooperation with the Palestinians.

Abbas' initial announcement of suspension of "ties on all levels" left it unclear whether he was including security coordination. Ending those ties could quickly escalate tensions.

"This decision we took to stop all kinds of coordination, whether security or otherwise, is not easy at all", Abbas said in quotes carried by the official PA news site Wafa on Sunday.

Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. The attacker was subsequently shot by a neighbor, a vacationing Israeli soldier, according to an IDF statement.

"We have ideas, including the removal of the magnometers which are exclusively a security solution, and we'll see what the existing alternatives are", he added.

The ministers met amid mounting controversy at home, with some critics saying the government had acted without sufficiently considering the repercussions of introducing new security measures at the Holy Land's most sensitive shrine and the epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Tensions over the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have surged in the past couple of days.

Israel has sent extra troops into the occupied West Bank following unrest on Friday over new security restrictions imposed on Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. He stabbed to death Yosef Salomon, 70, and his adult children, 46-year-old Chaya and 35-year-old Elad.

A neighbour, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding the attacker.

A photo released by the military showed a kitchen floor covered with blood. Police said the metal detectors are needed to prevent further attacks. "There is no justification for murdering a grandfather at a party to celebrate the birth of his new grandson", said Oded Revivi, the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha settlers' council.

However Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to convene his security cabinet to weigh alternatives.

"Since the start of the events, I have held a series of assessments with security elements including those in the field", he said at the start of the meeting. Movement of Palestinians from his village was also restricted by Israeli security services.

Lieberman, however, downplayed the significance of the move telling the Ynet news site on Sunday that Israel can manage its own affairs and that it is the Palestinians who will ultimately suffer.

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