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Israel Reopens Disputed Jerusalem Holy Place after Deadly Attack

  • Robert Berger

Palestinians stand next to a police barricade as they wait for the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount to be reopened, in Jerusalem's Old City, July 16, 2017.

Israel is allowing entry into a disputed Jerusalem holy place that is revered by Jews and Muslims, after it was briefly closed in the wake of a deadly shooting attack last week by Arab citizens of Israel.

Israeli police reopened the Mosque of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem’s Old City, the site Jews call the Temple Mount, after a shooting attack on Friday that killed two Israeli policemen and three Arab gunmen. New security measures are in place, including metal detectors and cameras.

Deputy Jerusalem police commander Ami Eshed said the use of firearms at the holy place requires a crackdown.

Eshed said all Muslim worshippers entering the site will be thoroughly checked. But he added the measures would be eased when the security situation permits because it is impossible to check the tens of thousands of Palestinians who come to the mosque to pray on Fridays and on holidays.

Palestinians are furious, saying Israel is trying to seize control of the third holiest place in Islam.

A Palestinian waiting to enter the site said the measures are humiliating to Muslims and are raising religious tensions in Jerusalem. He told Israel Radio the Israeli government will bear responsibility for the consequences.

In the past tensions at the holy place have exploded into violence. Israel says it does not want an escalation, but officials warn that they will not allow the Al-Aqsa Mosque to be a flashpoint for incitement and terrorism.

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