Is­rael re­opens holy site af­ter fa­tal at­tack on po­lice of­fi­cers

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY ARON HELLER As­so­ci­ated Press

Jerusalem — Hun­dreds of Mus­lim wor­shipers vis­ited a Jerusalem holy site Sun­day af­ter Is­rael re­opened the com­pound fol­low­ing a rare clo­sure in re­sponse to a deadly shoot­ing last week that raised con­cerns about wider un­rest.

For the first time in decades, Is­rael closed the site — known to Mus­lims as the No­ble Sanc­tu­ary and to Jews as the Tem­ple Mount — on Fri­day af­ter three Arab cit­i­zens of Is­rael opened fire from the sa­cred site with au­to­matic weapons, killing two po­lice of­fi­cers. The three were later shot dead in­side the com­pound.

Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said that fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tions with se­cu­rity of­fi­cials the site would be re­opened Sun­day af­ter­noon with in­creased se­cu­rity mea­sures that in­cluded metal de­tec­tors at the en­trance gates and ad­di­tional se­cu­rity cam­eras.

At mid­day, Is­raeli po­lice opened two of the gates to the com­pound to al­low wor­shipers to en­ter through the newly erected de­tec­tors. Po­lice said some wor­shipers re­fused to go through them and knelt to pray out­side in­stead.

Is­rael did not co­or­di­nate the changes with Jor­dan, which serves as the cus­to­dian of the Mus­lim-ad­min­is­tered site, ac­cord­ing to a Jor­da­nian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial.

Jor­dan’s stance is that any­thing in­stalled at the site must be ap­proved by the Waqf, or Mus­lim ad­min­is­tra­tion, and can­not change the sta­tus quo, said the of­fi­cial who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the still de­vel­op­ing sit­u­a­tion with re­porters.

The Pales­tinian Min­is­ter of Jerusalem Ad­nan Hus­seini called for the se­cu­rity ar­range­ments to re­turn to how they were be­fore the deadly at­tack, say­ing it “shouldn’t be an ex­cuse for mak­ing changes.”

The at­tack trig­gered a rare phone con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Ne­tanyahu and Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas, who con­demned the at­tack and called for the site to be re­opened. Ne­tanyahu sought to al­lay Mus­lim fears, say­ing that the sta­tus quo at the Mus­lim-ad­min­is­tered site “will be pre­served.” But Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers called the act a “re­li­gious war” and urged Pales­tini­ans to carry out more at­tacks.

Early Sun­day, Is­raeli po­lice said se­cu­rity forces shot dead a Pales­tinian as­sailant be­hind a pair of re­cent

Pho­tos by Ah­mad Gharabli / Getty Im­ages shoot­ing at­tacks. Spokesman Micky Rosen­feld said po­lice tracked down the 34-year-old sus­pect in a joint op­er­a­tion with the military. The sus­pect opened fire with an au­to­matic weapon, prompt­ing the troops to re­turn fire, killing him.

In the past two years, Pales­tini­ans have killed 45 Is­raelis, two vis­it­ing Amer­i­cans and a Bri­tish tourist in stab­bings, shoot­ings and car-ram­ming at­tacks. Dur­ing that pe­riod, Is­raeli forces have killed more than 255 Pales­tini­ans, most of them said by Is­rael to be at­tack­ers while oth­ers were killed in clashes with Is­raeli forces.

Is­rael blames the vi­o­lence on in­cite­ment by Pales­tinian lead­ers com­pounded on so­cial me­dia sites that glo­rify vi­o­lence. Pales­tini­ans say the at­tacks stem from anger over decades of Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion of ter­ri­to­ries they claim for their fu­ture state.

A Pales­tinian woman car­ries a Ko­ran and chants slo­gans out­side the main en­trance to Al-Aqsa mosque com­pound, due to new se­cu­rity mea­sures in­clud­ing metal de­tec­tors and cam­eras, Sun­day in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Is­raeli Bor­der po­lice stand guard by newly-in­stalled se­cu­rity metal de­tec­tors at the en­trance to Al-Aqsa com­pound.

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