Israel to remove metal detectors at Al-Aqsa Mosque

July 24 (UPI) — Israeli will remove metal detectors from a holy site in Jerusalem after days of protest from Muslims who were angered by the Israeli military-protected barriers, the government announced.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s cabinet said it agreed to accept the “the recommendation of all the security bodies to change the inspection with metal detectors to a security inspection based on advanced technologies and other means” at the Al-Aqsa compound, which has been a hot-point of controversy and violence for several days.

Many Muslims refused to enter the mosque unless the metal detectors were taken down and prayed outside of the compound in protest.

“As long as the metal detectors are there, we won’t enter,” said Musa Basit, 55, a teacher of Islamic law at Al-Quds University, reported the New York Times. “If they take them down, we’ll go in. Things have to go back to how they were 10 days ago.”

Other critics of the metal detectors and extra security at the Muslim holy site contend that the show of force by the Israeli government is about intimidation, not security.

“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. “These metal detectors are not about security, but rather about deliberately attempting to bar Palestinians from their places of worship.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that his government would “freeze contact on all levels” with Israel until the metal detectors were removed.

The government of Jordan, which is the official custodian of the shrine, also urged the Israeli government to reconsider the metal detectors after two Jordanians and one Israeli were killed at the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

The metal detectors were installed after three men shot two Jewish Israeli policemen on July 14 near the Lion’s Gate.

More violence ensued as Israeli authorities responded by ramping up security, including the metal detectors at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located near the Lion’s Gate. Then on July 21, Israeli authorities killed three Palestinian men during demonstrations in Jerusalem, including a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old.

Three Israeli settlers were also stabbed to death in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Friday.

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