Arab League condemns Israeli practices in al-Aqsa mosque

Arab League condemns Israeli practices in al-Aqsa mosque

The Israeli measures, including CCTVs covering the entire compound, checkpoints and metal detectors at the entrances, were installed after three Palestinian Muslims with Israeli citizenship shot dead two Israel policemen on Friday morning.

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.

The unrest began on Friday when three Arab Israeli gunmen shot and killed two police officers stationed at one of the entrances to the site.

Crowds chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) as a number of initial visitors entered Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The area is home to the Western Wall - which was part of the walls around the Second Jewish Temple and is one of the holiest places for Jews to pray - and the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.

They called on the worshippers not to enter the mosque through the metal detectors and added that "if the metal detectors continue to be imposed, we call upon the people to pray in front of the gates of the mosque and in the streets of Jerusalem". But despite concerns that the new measures could slow movement and spark renewed tensions, police said they appeared to be working fine and that 200 people had already passed through. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police tracked down the 34-year-old suspect in a joint operation with the military.

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The armed wings of 10 Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, warned Israel on Tuesday they would respond to its measures against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Two officers were said hurt in the clashes.

The Waqf, together with other Islamic groups, yesterday issued a statement calling on Muslim worshippers "to reject and boycott all the Israeli aggression measures, including changing the historical status quo including imposing the metal detectors".

Israeli forces shoot fishermen off Gaza: Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened fire on several Palestinian fishermen south of the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday night.

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

The site has proved a tinder-box in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past.

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