Israel removes installations outside al-Aqsa Mosque


Israel removed early Thursday all installation they had recently placed outside Lions Gate that leads to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, WAFA news agency reports.

Police removed the metal bridges and cameras recently installed at the gate paving the way to reopening the mosque that has been closed since July 14, for Muslim prayer.

Israel closed the holy Muslim compound following an attack outside its gates that left two Israeli policemen dead in addition to three alleged Palestinian attackers from Umm Fahem, a town inside Israel.

Only two gates leading to the mosque were reopened on July 16 after police had installed metal detectors at the gates. However, the Waqf, which is in charge of the mosque compound, known as Al-Haram Al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary, decided against entering the mosque considering the installation of the metal detectors as infringement on the long-standing status quo at the mosque and a step toward Israeli control over the 144-dunum Muslim holy site.

As a result, Muslims refused to enter the mosque, deciding instead to pray outside the wall compound in a protest move.

The prayers usually ended up with confrontations with Israeli police and three young Palestinians were killed by police gunfire on Friday in the protests that erupted in and around Jerusalem.

Officials attributed the removal of the installation to the strong popular opposition and the vigils residents of Jerusalem have been observing outside the mosque, which also found resonance among Palestinians everywhere and around the world.

However, a final decision regarding giving the green light to resumption of prayer inside the mosque is contingent on a report by a technical committee the Waqf has set up two days ago on whether or not all Israeli installation have been removed from inside and outside the gates.

The report and final decision is expected on Thursday in advance of the Friday prayers when thousands of Muslims usually attend the noon prayer at the mosque, a tradition that has been going on for centuries interrupted only when Israel shut down the mosque on July 14 for Friday prayer for the first time in decades and when Muslims refused to hold the following Friday prayer inside the compound in protest against the metal detectors

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