The Israel Police’s decision to keep the metal detectors in place at the entrances into the Temple Mount was met with anger and outcry by many Palestinian and Muslim leaders in Israel, including leaders of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf and Hamas. Hundreds of rioters outside the Old City have clashed with police forces. However, many Muslims have entered the Temple Mount for Friday prayer services, peacefully passing through the metal detectors, headed to worship.
Watch Below: Peaceful worship (Video Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson)
Despite the riots and demonstrations by hundreds of young men outside the Lions’ Gate, many Muslims peacefully entered the Temple Mount today (Friday) for prayer services, passing through the newly installed metal detectors and security measures. The Israel Police decided to only allow Muslims over the age of 50 to enter the Temple Mount for prayer services today as a precaution given recent threats and calls for violence.
Yesterday, Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh sent a threatening message to Israel and called on all Muslims to protest tomorrow at the Temple Mount. “I call on all Palestinians, all Muslims and Arabs to assemble for Al-Aqsa and mass demonstrations following tomorrow’s prayers,” Haniyeh stated, declaring today a “day of rage.”
Security points at the entrances to the Old City Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
Last week’s fatal terror attack at the Temple Mount during which 2 Israeli policemen were murdered, left a dark stain on the city. Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at Temple Mount entrances stirred great controversy throughout the Palestinian and Muslim world. Despite the normalcy of such security measures at holy sites around the world, including Mecca, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf as well as Palestinian leadership deemed the move as an attack on the sites’ sanctity and worshipers’ freedoms.
Although the Shin Bet opposed leaving the metal detectors in place, Israel’s security cabinet decided to let the Israel Police make the final decision on the matter. Given the heated clashes expected to continue throughout the day, Israel Border Police forces are stationed throughout and around the Old City, along roads, prepared to disperse any riots or attempts to disrupt order.