On Sunday, Israeli authorities installed new security cameras at the holy shrine and placed its forces based in the West Bank on high alert, according to the Associated Press. They noted that “alternatives” were being considered in regard to the metal detectors positioned at the entrance to the site.
Muslims said, however, that the security measures are intended to exert greater control over the site by Israeli authorities.
Al-Aqsa Mosque was the scene of a shootout that left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead on July 14. Soon thereafter, Israeli police forces occupied the compound and closed it off to access. Two days later, they reopened the compound only after installing metal detectors and heightened security at its entrances.
However, Mohammed Hussein, the top Muslim cleric of Jerusalem, stated that Palestinians categorically reject the “electronic gates and all measures of occupation.”
At least four Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, with over 400 reportedly injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.
The past week has seen a wave of Palestinian resistance and demonstration against the tightened grip that the Israeli government has imposed over Palestinians in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.
Muslim leaders and the thousands of Palestinians who go to the site, which is the third holiest in Islam, each week for prayers, have said that Israel is using the attacks to justify the enforcement of greater control over the site. Current agreements allow Muslims control over al-Aqsa Mosque and do not allow other religious activity to take place there.
In response, hundreds of Palestinians have resisted the crackdown on their ability to worship by refusing to comply with the security measures, praying outside rather than entering through the security checkpoints.
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