Tensions Rise in Jerusalem After Israel Installs Metal Detectors at Mosque

Temple Mount

Temple Mount

Israeli police barred men under 50 from entering Jerusalem's Old City for Friday prayers as tensions rose and protests erupted over new security measures at a highly sensitive holy site.

A group of several hundred people, including Muslim leaders, marched towards the Lions Gate entrance to the mosque compound, but police told them that only men aged 50 or over would be allowed in.

Israeli forces attacked Palestinians on Friday while they were performing their Friday prayers at the Israeli military Qalandia checkpoint located between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

This included the installation of metal detectors, which Palestinian and Islamic leaders say undermines the fragile set of arrangements agreed after Israel took control of the Old City during the Six-day War in 1967.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a phone conversation with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over a recent escalation at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

He said he will suspend all official contacts with Israel until it removes metal detectors from Temple Mount.

'The cabinet has authorised the police to take any decision in order ensure free access to the holy places while maintaining security and public order'.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Friday that three teens were shot and killed in clashes with security forces, in east Jerusalem and not in the area of the mosque, although circumstances remain unclear. Israeli officials said they were a permanent measure but many worshippers refused to go through them and preferred to pray outside the compound.

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Israel has alleged that the weapons used in the attack were smuggled into the compound and that the metal detectors are a necessary security feature. Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said developments regarding the al-Aqsa mosque were disrupting and unacceptable.

The compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is also considered a Jewish holy site as the historical location of the two Jewish biblical temples.

A second person, who was reportedly shot in the A-Tur area of East Jerusalem, died of his injuries at Makassed Hospital.

The measure was expected to trigger more anger at the volatile site. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas called for a "day of rage" on Friday.

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Following a shooting attack last Friday, where three Palestinian attackers and two Israeli policemen were killed, Israel closed the mosque in the face of prayers and put electronic gates and inserted cameras at the gates that lead to the mosque.

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