Israeli police close Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Jerusalem (IINA) – Amid rising tensions over new metal detectors at one of Islam’s holiest sites, Israeli authorities on Wednesday closed the gates of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa compound, preventing Palestinians from entering the site, according to a Palestinian official.

This evening, Israeli police officers closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque gates and prevented worshipers from entering, Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

The police deployed dozens of Israeli officers at the gates, closed down the holy compound, and prevented Palestinians from praying at the mosque, he said, adding: Israeli police beefed up security, deploying hundreds of troops at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City and barring Palestinians from entering.

Hundreds of Palestinians were also barred from reaching their homes due to Israeli security measures, he said.

Separately, the religious endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs (run by the Jordanian government) decided to close all the mosques in East Jerusalem on Friday and called for prayers in front of Al-Aqsa’s gates to protest the metal detectors deployed by Israeli police.

The Israeli government’s installation of metal detectors at the mosque’s gates has led to a wave of anger among Palestinians, who called for their immediate removal.

Israel has defended the controversial detectors, claiming they are no different from security measures at other world holy sites.

The beefed-up security follows a shootout last Friday at the mosque’s compound, which left five people dead.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam after the cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Source: International Islamic News Agency