Jerusalem sealed off after attack on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif
The compound will remain closed until tomorrow when an Israeli security cabinet meeting will be held. Two Israeli Druze policemen die. Netanyahu promises no changes to the status quo, but the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif remains at the centre of tensions and violence.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel shut down the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) until Sunday following an incident yesterday morning in which three Israeli-Arab attackers and two Israeli Druze police officers died.
Following the attack, Israeli police detained 58 employees of the Waqf (Islamic Charitable Endowment), including janitors, to question them about the incident.
Israeli forces also detained the grand mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein in the afternoon as he led Friday prayers near the Damascus Gate. Before his arrest, he condemned the closure of the mosque compound. He was released hours later.
The area will remain closed until tomorrow, to be reopened gradually to Muslims following a meeting of Israel’s security cabinet.
Waqf sources told Haaretz that this is the first time Friday prayers did not take place in the area since 1969.
The decision was met with relative calm from the Palestinians, and no further violence occurred.
In a phone conversation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that no changes would take place. For his part, Abbas condemned the attack.
Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area.
Nevertheless, the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif remains a sore point between the two parties. Many Palestinians fear that the status quo is being undermined as tensions are fuelled by repeated incursions by Jewish extremists who demand that the mosque be destroyed and replaced by a Jewish temple.