Palestinian protesters have clashed with the Israeli security forces at the holy compound known as Temple Mount in Judaism and Haram al-Sharif in Islam, despite the official resolution of a two-week stand off over access to the site.
Worshippers were urged to return to the compound’s al-Aqsa mosque for afternoon prayers on Thursday after the site’s religious authority Waqf declared that it was satisfied Israel had removed new security measures such as metal detectors and CCTV cameras.
Violence broke out as Muslim worshippers tried to enter the compound, however, in stark contrast to the overnight celebrations over Israel’s capitulation to protesters’ demands – raising fears the situation has not yet abated.
Metal detectors removed from holy site by Israel authorities
Police fired stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets and Palestinians threw stones inside the complex in ongoing fighting that has left at least 37 injured, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
Sound bombs were also used to control the crowd of thousands as it tried to surge through both the Hutta and Lion’s Gates. The violence reportedly broke out after one of the gates was closed in an attempt to control the crowd flow.
The Israeli authorities had argued the new security measures were necessary after Palestinian gunmen killed two Israeli police officers near the compound on 14 July.
The decision was met with uproar by Palestinians and Muslims across the world, who viewed it as an Israeli attempt to exert more control over the politically sensitive site.
Almost two weeks of tension have followed, including worshippers praying outside al-Aqsa in protest and street clashes which have left at least four Palestinians dead. In the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian attacker killed three Israeli settlers in their home – an attack Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday warranted the death penalty.
In an effort to deescalate the growing crisis – some of the…