Waqf officials remain outside of Temple Mount after refusing to go through metal detectors

Shortly after the Israel Police announced that Muslim worshipers can return the Temple Mount, Jerusalem Islamic Waqf officials announced that as an act of protest against the new security measures at the site, they will be refusing to pass through the new metal detectors.

Watch: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem outside of the Temple Mount, today

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Muslim worshipers were allowed to return to the Temple Mount on Sunday after the holy site was closed for two days in light of Friday morning’s deadly terror attack. Ahead of the reopening and in accordance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s instructions, metal detectors were placed at the entrance to the holy site.

However, Jerusalem Islamic Waqf officials refused to pass through the metal detectors in order to enter the compound and encouraged the Muslim worshipers to do the same. “It’s an embarrassment to go through a checkpoint of the occupation to Al-Aqsa,” the Muslim worshipers said in protest of the new security measure while gathering for a massive prayer session outside of the holy site.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Jerusalem District Police head Yoram Halevy decided on Friday evening that metal detectors and security cameras would be placed at the entrances to the holy site. In the past, such a decision has been criticized by the Jordanian government.  

The Temple Mount, today Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Halevy was interviewed by Channel 2 News on Friday and said that the security inspection routine at the holy site will undergo changes in light of the terror attack. “The inspection in the past few years has been based on a level of identification combined with the awareness of officers who are positioned at every entrance and have gained a lot of experience,” he explained. “They check every bag but do not conduct strip searches or a technological inspection. From now on, the inspection will be different, and this will have great significances. There are times when thousands of people enter the compound.”

Meanwhile, it appears that the Israeli government will postpone the resumption of MK visits to the Temple Mount until further notice. In the beginning of the month, Netanyahu decided that the ban prohibiting Jewish and Muslim MKs from visiting the Temple Mount would be lifted at the end of the month for a week-long trial. However, in light of the terror attack, it is unclear when the Israeli lawmakers’ visitations will resume.

Outside the Temple Mount, today Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Muslim men praying near metal detectors, today Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

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