Israel removes iron guardrails at Al-Aqsa gates

Israel removes iron guardrails at Al-Aqsa gates

Jerusalem's senior Muslim clergies announced on Thursday that worshippers can return to pray inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, following two-week-long violent clashes over new Israeli security measures at the site, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Director of Waqf in East Jerusalem Azzam Salhab read a statement in a news briefing held in Jerusalem and signed by Jerusalem's religious leaders saying they made a decision to perform the afternoon prayers on Thursday in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Prayers will be resumed on Thursday, the clergies said. "We will not hurry up on our decision to enter Al-Aqsa or not", Kiswani told reporters at the Esbat Gate. "What's important to us is to support our people and their steadfastness on Jerusalem". "They were asking me to stand beside them". "We control ourselves. No one is controlling us".

Abbas noted in his statement that he had not decided whether to reestablish the security coordination with Israel that was broken off to protest installation of the metal detectors.

Although Israeli authorities have now removed all the barriers and security measures they had put up at Al Aqsa, the incident once again highlights the continuing tensions in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

The development raises concerns there could be another day of mass demonstrations and possibly clashes with Israeli security forces. The guard and other diplomats arrived home on Monday after a deal that a Jordanian government source said also involved the mosque compound. -Gen. Yoram Helevi said that he was expecting many Muslim worshipers to attend Friday prayers at the al-Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount, and that he was also expecting attempts to harm police personnel and civilians.

More news: Six killed in violence over Jerusalem holy site

"Right now inside the compound there's a hell of a lot of tear gas being used and people coming out with their eyes streaming".

For its part, the Palestinian consensus government considered that "the entry of the Al-Aqsa Mosque today is a great historical moment that paves the way for liberation and preaches the imminent disappearance of the Israeli occupation".

While recognising that Israelis and Palestinians, fortunately, have not succumbed to the torrent of violent upheaval that has engulfed the region in recent years, Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told an open debate in the UN Security Council that for almost a century, despite myriad peace efforts, one conflict has evaded solution.

A live video posted on Facebook showed hundreds of Palestinian worshippers praying maghrib (sunset) inside the compound. Observers say it is a climbdown by Prime Minister Netanyahu, which will put him at odds with more right-wing members of his cabinet.

With tensions running high, Israel last Friday barred men under 50 from entering the Old City for prayers. Jordan was in control of the West Bank and east Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, when Israel conquered these territories from Jordan.

Palestinians do not recognise Israel's authority in East Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and are extremely sensitive to the presence of Israeli security forces in and around the Noble Sanctuary.

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