Israel removes metal detectors from Temple Mount

The devices were dismantled before dawn. Netanyahu proposes to replace them with new "advanced" security technologies. The UN Security Council had asked for a solution by Friday. UN Middle East envoy: These events can create disasters far beyond the Middle East.


Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning before dawn, a workgroup removed all of the metal detectors that had been installed over the past few days to control the entrance to Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, the third most sacred place for Islam, known to Jews as the Temple Mount. .

The decision - which had aroused riots and international criticsm - was reached this morning by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet. An official statement reads that the metal detectors will be replaced by "security inspections based on advanced technologies and other means".

Israel had installed metal detectors at the entrance to Temple Mount after the killing of two policemen by some Israeli Arabs on July 14, who fled with weapons into the sacred site.

For Muslims, the unilateral decision violated the status quo (which grants Muslims responsibility for the use of the mosques) and appeared as yet another attempt to seize control of the holy places.

Many Muslims refused to pass through the metal detectors and preferred to pray in the streets, where riots and clashes with the police broke out. Christians came out in support of Muslims accusing Israel of wanting to turn a political issue into a religious conflict.

Pope Francis has appealed to all involved for "moderation and dialogue" together with a resumption of reconciliation and attempts to bring about peace.

The UN Security Council gathered in emergency session last night. The UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, who explained the situation to the Council, also stressed that "it is important to find a solution by Friday" (The day of prayer for Muslims).

"The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution to this current crisis," he said, warning that violence there could spread "beyond the Middle East itself".