Israel reopens Al Aqsa mosque, but Muslims refuse to enter

Patrice Gainsbourg
Julho 17, 2017

Israeli authorities said the gunmen had come from the flashpoint holy site to carry out the attack.

An Israeli police spokesman called the three assailants terrorists and said they were targeting police units in the areas.

No terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Hamas called it "a natural response to Israel's terrorism and its desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that following consultations with security officials the site would be reopened on Sunday with increased security measures that included metal detectors at the entrance gates and additional security cameras. Police gave chase and they were shot dead at the compound.

Photos released by Palestinian sources showed Israeli vehicles raiding the holy compound.

Israel took the highly unusual decision to close the Al Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers, triggering anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site's custodian.

With the end of 2015 in Israel recorded a spate of attacks on Israelis by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

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The prayer eventually turned into a rally as the demonstrators chanted: "God is great!" and "Al-Aqsa belongs to the Muslims!"

Israel reopened Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif compound on Sunday, drawing a protest by Muslim religious authorities over the installation of metal detectors at entrances two days after a deadly shooting.

About 600 Muslims had entered the temple from when it opened at 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. - far fewer than the thousands that usually visit the mosque.

Police identified the slain officers as Hayil Satawi, 30, from the northern Israeli Arab town of Maghar, and Kamil Shnaan, 22, from another northern town, Hurfeish. The United States strongly condemns the terror attack.

"It is time for the Arab leadership in Israel, and even outside it, to express a clear position against this criminal attack", the president said in a statement.

Police spokeswoman Luba Simri told the Reuters news agency: "When they saw policemen they shot toward them and then escaped toward one of the mosques in the Temple Mount compound".

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