Israel removes metal detectors at entrance to holy site

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 25, 2017

After hundreds of Muslim worshippers defiantly held their evening prayers outside the Jerusalem holy site, resuming their protest against security measures Israel imposed after a deadly attack there, clashes unfolded with police firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.

"The security cabinet accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (smart checks) and other measures instead of metal detectors", Israel announced early on Tuesday.

In a post on Facebook, the stabber said he was deeply concerned about the recent violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in annexed East Jerusalem and wanted to protect it.

The closure of Al-Aqsa for Friday prayers, the first such move since Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967, triggered clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops.

"Israel claims that the metal detectors are necessary for Israel's "security" following an incident last week in which two armed Israeli officers were killed", wrote Diana Buttu, a Palestinian lawyer and analyst.

A meeting of the UN Security Council was held behind closed doors to discuss the crisis on Monday.

It also comes after one of US President Donald Trump's top aides, Jason Greenblatt, arrived in Israel for talks over the crisis and with the UN Middle East envoy warning of a further escalation.

Now, rather than enter Harim al-Sharif, many Palestinians are choosing to pray in the street.

Three Israelis were stabbed to death on Friday while eating dinner in a West Bank settlement.

The site in Jerusalem's Old City is sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Mr Greenblatt met prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with U.S. envoy to Israel David Friedman, an Israeli official said.

It restored access to the compound later, but placed metal detectors at its front, prompting Muslims to refuse entering the site.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit yesterday accused Israel of "playing with fire" with the new security measures.

The sequence of events began when three Palestinians from the northern Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm smuggled guns into the contested complex, shooting two Israeli policemen dead at its entrance on July 14.

The compound is located in east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

The United Nations Security Council called a meeting for Monday to discuss the latest development in the region. Two Palestinians died, including one when a petrol bomb exploded prematurely.

Also yesterday, a rocket fired at Israel from Gaza hit an open area, the Israeli army said, causing no injuries.

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