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Israeli Police Reopen Access to Jewish Visitors to Temple Mount After Closure

21 July 2017

Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli authorities at Jerusalem's sacred Temple Mount or Noble Sanctuary entered the fourth day as Israeli police punched a Muslim worshiper in the face and used stun grenades to disperse a crowd of protesters.

Two Israeli police officers were killed and another one was injured by Arab Israelis of Palestinian origin who opened fire on security forces in Jerusalem's Old City.

Tensions have continued to simmer in the city after a wave of stabbing, shooting and vehicle-ramming attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem, other Israeli cities and the West Bank in October 2015. Jews revere the site as the place of their historic temples, the last of which was ruined by the Romans in 70 AD. He said that several talks were held over the past few days about the metal detectors with the Israeli security and defense officials.

The Palestinian party called Israel's measures a "fierce and organised attack" against Palestinians living in east Jerusalem.

The Waqf has called for all mosques in Jerusalem to be shut down on Friday, and for all Muslims to come to the street outside the Temple Mount to pray and protest the metal detectors. This drew a new wave of protests and criticism, with Turkish government going as far as describing the measures as "a crime against humanity, a crime committed against the freedom of religion".

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Muslims, however, refused to enter the site in protest to the newly-imposed security measures, including the installation of metal detectors and cameras.

The murdered and wounded police officers were Druze, according to Naftali Bennett, Israel's education minister.

Police have been gradually reopening the site. Palestinians say the attacks stem from anger over decades of Israeli occupation of territories they claim for their future state. During that period, Israeli forces have killed more than 255 Palestinians, a lot of them said by Israel to be attackers while others were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Under the current situation, Israel controls access to the site while Jordan presides over its daily management. Conflicts over the holy site, revered by Muslims and Jews, have repeatedly triggered Israeli-Palestinian confrontations.

Netanyahu's office responded that Israel would "take all the necessary actions to maintain security on the Temple Mount, without changing the status quo", the New York Times reported.

Israeli Police Reopen Access to Jewish Visitors to Temple Mount After Closure