Al-Aqsa administrator urges continued refusal to enter holy site

A religious trust that manages Islamic edifices at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has called on worshipers to keep refusing to enter the holy site until changes in Israel’s restrictions there have been assessed.

The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf said in a statement on Tuesday that Muslims should continue to stay away from the compound in protest pending a review of the new Israeli measures.

“No entry into al-Aqsa Mosque until after an assessment by a Waqf technical committee and the return of the situation to how it was before the 14th of this month,” the statement read, referring to the date when a deadly shootout outside the Haram al-Sharif, which Jews call Temple Mount, provoked tensions in Jerusalem al-Quds.

Ikrema Sabri, the head of the Supreme Islamic Committee in Jerusalem al-Quds, told The Associated Press that the assessment might be completed later on Tuesday.

Using the July 14 gunfight as a pretext, Israel set up metal detectors and surveillance cameras at entrances to the al-Aqsa compound.

The measures sparked criticism worldwide, with Palestinians saying that the bans were meant to expand the regime’s control over the highly sensitive site and change its status quo.

Palestinians have been refusing to enter the al-Aqsa compound in protest at the restrictions, holding mass prayers outside the site.

Late on Monday, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Tel Aviv would “change the inspection with metal detectors to a security inspection based on advanced technologies and other means.”

Israeli police would also “reinforce” their presence around the al-Aqsa compound, it added.

The United Nations (UN)’s Middle East Envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned on Monday that the al-Aqsa crisis had “the potential to have catastrophic costs” well beyond the Middle East.

Some reports said that the metal detectors’ removal appeared to be part of a deal and was in return for the repatriation of Israeli diplomats from Jordan, including an embassy security guard who killed two Jordanians on Sunday.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said on Monday that approximately 1,090 Palestinians have been injured in the al-Aqsa clashes over the past 10 days.


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