Jerusalem, July 27 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday urged a halt to ongoing protests at Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem’s Old City following a decision by Israel to remove metal detectors and other extraordinary security installations from the holy site.
The Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohamed Hussein, told the media that things were back to the way they were before, so Muslims could pray again in Al-Aqsa.
Muslim religious leaders held a meeting early in the day, following Israel’s dismantling of metal structures, fences and safety rails, and decided to end the protest. They called the faithful to pray in Al-Aqsa in the afternoon, after 11 days of urging worshippers to pray outside in protest, Efe news reported.
Abbas called on worshippers in a televised live address from Ramallah to resume their prayers in Al-Aqsa after talking to the mufti and being informed that the technical committee in charge of assessing the situation concluded that the devices had been withdrawn.
Israel increased security in the zone following an attack on July 14, in which two Israeli policemen and three Palestinian assailants died, leading to the installation of metal detectors, cameras and metal barriers.
Since then, thousands of Muslim Palestinians prayed in the neighbourhoods around the sacred Al-Aqsa complex in protests that on several occasions turned violent and in which four Palestinians were killed and more than 500 were injured.
Last Friday, a Palestinian stabbed three members of an Israeli family in the Jewish settlement of Halamish in the northern West Bank and said he had done so “in defence of Al-Aqsa”.