Jerusalem mufti announces return to Al Aqsa after Israeli forces remove security measures


Published: 2017-07-27 11:52

Last Updated: 2017-07-27 12:42

All security measures have been removed at Al Aqsa. (File photo)
All security measures have been removed at Al Aqsa. (File photo)
Roya News Source

The mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, declared on Thursday that the boycott of Al Aqsa over new Israeli security measures has ended, after police removed all security structures at entrances to the holy site.

“Things have returned to what they were, so we will pray in Al-Aqsa,” he told the Saudi-based news station Al Arabiye.

Israeli forces begun to dismantle security measures at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem late Wednesday night, in what is being regarded as a victory for Palestinian civil society.

The move was announced late on Monday night by the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and intends to end escalating tensions over the holy site after days of violent confrontations claimed seven lives.

Worshipers had refused to enter the site since security equipment, including metal detectors and cameras, was installed after a shooting attack on July 14, in which three Arab Israelis used weapons smuggled into the sacred compound to kill two Israeli policemen.

Thursday morning, worshipers continued to pray outside of the compound  as they have done for nearly two weeks, stressing that they would not enter Al-Aqsa until the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) issued a final report certifying that all security procedures imposed since July 14 were removed.

This comes following a deadly shooting at Al Aqsa, July 14, with saw three Palestinians and two Israeli policemen were killed. The event triggered intensified Israeli security measures at the compound, sparking mass protests among local Palestinians, who have been met with violent repression at the hands of Israeli forces.

On Wednesday night, hundreds of Palestinians gathered to celebrate at the compound’s Lions’ Gate following reports that Israeli forces had removed barricades and scaffolding in the area, according to Ma’an news.

Over the last ten days, four Palestinian demonstrators have been killed by Israelis and over thousands injured, as Israeli forces violently clash with Palestinians across East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

“During these recent events, Israel has repeatedly demonstrated sweeping disregard for the lives and security of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, and for their right to maintain a normal routine,” said Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem.