Published: Wed, July 19, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Closing Al-Aqsa mosque unacceptable, Deputy PM says

Closing Al-Aqsa mosque unacceptable, Deputy PM says

The Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem reopened on Sunday after being closed following a deadly attack, but Muslims were refusing to enter over new Israeli security measures, including metal detectors and cameras.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement warned in a statement on Sunday afternoon that Israel will pay the price for the aggression and measures taken in al-Aqsa Mosque, stressing that Palestinians will defend al-Aqsa.

One of the wounded included Palestinian leader Mustafa Barghouti, who was reportedly shot in the head by a rubber bullet and brought to al-Makassed Hospital in east Jerusalem.

"I decided that as of tomorrow, in the framework of our policy of maintaining the status-quo, we will gradually open the Temple Mount, but with increased security measures".

However, Jerusalem's top Islamic religious figures on Monday called upon Palestinians seeking to reach al-Aqsa Mosque not to go through the metal detectors installed by Israeli police and to pray outside the compound instead.

Waqf trust accused Israel of "changing the historical status quo", referring to the prayer arrangements at the site of great religious importance for Jews and Muslims. But police said that despite the tensions, hundreds of worshippers had entered the compound.

Mahmoud Abbas, who was quick to condemn the shooting attacks in a telephone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is now in Beijing on a three-day visit to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, two rights groups protested against the closure of the Old City and its vicinity in Jerusalem al-Quds and the ban on Palestinians from entering it.

IDF Blog
IDF Blog

Jerusalem police commissioner Yoram Halevi said on the Israel Radio that Jerusalem is now quiet, and defended security checks.

"I assume that with time they will understand that this is not awful", he told Army Radio.

The Palestinian health ministry confirmed that the Palestinian had died.

In the past two years, Palestinians have killed 45 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and attacks using cars to ram into Israeli civilians and troops.

Netanyahu said he had agreed to increased security measures there.

The attackers were Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, Rosenfeld said.

The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians fearing Israel may one day seek to assert further control over it.

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