Muslims heed calls to avoid holy site over Israeli security measures

Muslims heed calls to avoid holy site over Israeli security measures

Prospera Giambalvo
Luglio 17, 2017

On Friday, three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen on the outskirts of the compound, holy to Muslims and Jews, and were then killed by security forces. The Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, said they were all Arab citizens of Israel who were unknown to the authorities.

"Temple Mount activists have become more emboldened, and the police attitude toward the Jewish activists has become more cooperative and generous", he said.

Israel took the highly unusual decision to close the Al Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers, triggering anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site's custodian.

Hussein was detained at the Lions Gate, the bodyguard said.

"Israel must reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Haram Al-Sharif (compound) immediately", said government spokesman Mohamed Momani, who is also information minister.

No Israeli casualties were reported, according to the statement.

Hundreds of Muslim worshippers have visited a Jerusalem holy site after Israel reopened the compound following a rare closure in response to a deadly shooting last week that raised concerns about wider unrest. "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". A body could be seen on the ground near the Al-Aqsa mosque at the site in Jerusalem's Old City.

Salzberg said he believes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "won't allow things to get worse because of Israeli relations with Jordan's King Abdallah and the delicate cease-fire in southern Syria".

In the past two years, Palestinian attackers have killed 45 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks.

With Al-Aqsa closed, crowds gathered at Old City gates and held prayers there.

The site, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, and the seventh-century Dome of the Rock, is also revered by Jews as the site of the historic Temple.

It is located in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.

The fate of the compound, holy to both Jews and Muslims, is an emotional issue and forms the centerpiece of rival Israeli and Palestinian national narratives.

There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials.