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Israel reopens Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa after deadly shooting

By Reuters - Jul 16,2017 - Last updated at Jul 16,2017

Palestinians hold banners and shout slogans during a protest against Israeli violations towards Al Aqsa Mosque in Nablus, the West Bank, on Sunday (Anadolu Agency photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel reopened Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif compound on Sunday, drawing a protest by Muslim religious authorities over the installation of metal detectors at entrances two days after a deadly shooting.

On Friday, Israeli occupation forces shot dead three Arab-Israelis on the outskirts of the holy site, holy to Muslims and Jews, and were then killed by security forces. It was one of the most serious attacks in the area in years.

Israeli authorities then closed the compound, citing security concerns, hours before Muslim Friday prayers.

That move prompted anger among Muslim worshippers and was condemned by Palestinian religious and political leaders, Jordan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Two of the nine gates to the site, known to Muslims as Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, were back in operation in what Israel described as a gradual reopening.

Leaders of the Muslim religious trust that runs the site urged worshippers not to pass through the metal detectors, describing them as a violation of a delicate status quo with Israel and held a prayer service next to the devices.

Several Palestinians ignored the call, while at the second entrance more people headed into the compound, Reuters photographers said. Police said 200 people had entered some 90 minutes after the reopening.

The area, in the eastern part of Jerusalem captured by Israel in a 1967 Middle East war, houses Al Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. It is adjacent to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Israelis are permitted to pray.

The site has proved a tinder-box in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past. Under the status quo agreement, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged late on Saturday to continue to uphold, Israelis are allowed to enter the compound under close supervision, but only Muslims are permitted to worship there.

 

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they seek in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel views all of occupied Jerusalem as its capital, a claim that has not won international recognition.

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Israel's conduct is insidious in that they are transgressing, bit by bit, upon the sanctity of the al-Aqsa. Each step they take is designed to acclimatize the Palestinians to further intrusions, with the eventual aim being the complete Zionist capture of the entire complex. They must be strongly resisted by everyone at every opportunity.

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