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Islamic leaders boycott Jerusalem site over metal detectors

Islamic leaders boycott Jerusalem site over metal detectors”

The Temple Mount was closed Friday and reopened Monday with additional security measures including metal detectors-a change that was protested by Palestinians.

The standoff began on Sunday, when the mosque was reopened after an unprecedented two-day closure imposed in response to a deadly shootout which Israeli police said was to search for any weapons inside.

Two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting Friday in Jerusalem's Old City, just outside one of the world's most important religious sites.

A hospital official said one man had suffered a serious head wound from a rubber bullet fired from close range.

Palestinian worshipers have protested the new devices, which they say infringe upon the fragile status-quo governing Muslim and Jewish prayer at the incendiary site. Israel's Shin Bet security service, which closely monitors Palestinian society, reportedly opposes the metal detectors as counterproductive, while police support the new measures. "Around the Lion's Gate, police cleared [the] area after disturbances took place".

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Earlier, six Palestinian worshippers were injured in clashes with the Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa Mosque's Al-Asbat Gate, among them the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) Mustafa Al-Barghouthi.

In addition, they have issued a declaration that Friday prayers will be conducted in public squares in Palestinian cities to denounce Israeli "terrorist procedures" in East Jerusalem.

During two separate meetings with ambassadors of the European Union and Asian countries to Jordan, the minister stressed that ending tension that would trigger a crisis is in the "hands of Israel", which should immediately open the Al-Aqsa mosque without any hindrances.

Questions about control of the site have frequently led to violent flare-ups between Israelis and Palestinians in the past.

Muslims had been praying outside the mosque, Islam's third holiest site, to protest Israeli restrictions on the compound, including metal detectors.

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Though Israeli officials said it was a permanent measure, Muslims refused to go through them and preferred to pray outside the compound.

The activists also ignore that metal detectors have been in place for years for Jewish and Christian worshipers accessing the Western Wall.

Rami Hamdallah, the prime minister of the Palestinian autonomy government in the West Bank, expressed his "absolute rejection of Israel's security pretexts in changing the status quo". The Temple Mount had not been closed by the Israelis since 1969.

In the meantime, Abbas is in touch with Arab and global leaders to try to "prevent a deterioration of the situation", it said.

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