Home More Middle east Fresh rallies planned as Israel weighs al-Aqsa security

Fresh rallies planned as Israel weighs al-Aqsa security

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Almost one week after alleged attack that set off tensions, officials deciding whether to keep metal detectors in place.

Palestinians fear Israel is trying to retake the holy site of al-Aqsa by stealth [EPA]

Fresh rallies are planned in the Gaza Strip in solidarity with worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque as Israel weighs whether to remove recently installed metal detectors at the compound.

 

Thursday’s expected protests follow days of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over the new security measures introduced at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Metal detectors and turnstiles were installed at the holy site after a deadly shoot-out there on Friday.

In that incident, two Israeli security officers were killed in an alleged attack by three Palestinians, who were killed by Israeli police following the violence.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone from Hungary with Israel’s security chiefs to hear their assessments and recommendations, according to a statement by his office.

Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, has recommended that the metal detectors be removed, but Jerusalem police have said that the barriers should stay in place.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said Palestinians are “incredibly worried” about the police stance.

“They see this as an escalation of Israeli sovereignty over al-Aqsa compound,” Khan said. “Palestinians are asking what happens next.”

 

well as the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

Muslims know the site as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, while Jews refer to the place of worship as Temple Mount.

Abbas to mediate

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbascut short his trip to China on Wednesday to return to Palestine to deal with the mounting tensions.

His office said he had been touch with Arab and international leaders to try to “prevent a deterioration of the situation”.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Jerusalem’s top Muslim leader called on all of the city’s mosques to close on Friday in protest of the new security measures.

 

Grand Mufti Muhammad Hussein said Palestinian Muslims should instead gather outside the gates of al-Aqsa Mosque for the weekly Friday prayers.

Questions about control of the site frequently lead to outbursts of fighting.

After last Friday’s alleged attack, Israel closed off the area, preventing Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time in decades.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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