Israeli Forces Shut Down, Occupy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Israeli Forces Shut Down, Occupy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

Israeli Forces Shut Down, Occupy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

After the attack Israeli authorities took the highly unusual decision to close the holy site for Friday prayers, angering Muslims and drawing the ire of Jordan which administers the compound.

Israeli police chief Roni Alsheikh said the attackers opened fire on the Israeli officers from inside the site.

A terror attack early Friday morning near the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City injured three Israeli security officers, two critically and one moderately.

"It has been chose to reopen the Temple Mount gradually tomorrow (Sunday) for the faithful, visitors and tourists", the premier's office said in a statement.

One of the mufti's bodyguards, Khaled Hamo, said police "entered the crowd and took the mufti".

A shooting incident near Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem al-Quds left at least three Palestinians and two Israeli officers dead.

OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen warned of the Israeli occupation's attempts to impose new facts inside Al Aqsa mosque, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

"Metal detectors will be stationed at the entrance gates to Temple Mount and cameras covering activity on the mount will be installed outside it", Netanyahu's statement said.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they want to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third-holiest site.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone later as tensions rose over the attack and its aftermath.

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However, he also said in a released statement that the police investigation of the attack would continue through the weekend and the plaza - holy to Jews and Muslims - might remain closed until a situation assessment on Sunday.

It lies in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, adding: "This incident has the potential to ignite further violence".

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded on social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.

Over 300 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli force since October that year, when the clashes intensified.

During that period, Israeli forces have killed more than 254 Palestinians, majority said by Israel to be attackers while others were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

There has been a wave of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings of Israelis predominantly by Palestinians or Israeli Arabs since late 2015.

A spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry voiced concern that the violence could undermine efforts to revive peace negotiations and called on the sides to "exercise restraint".

Israel has also approved the construction of 71 housing units in the Arab Al-Sawahra Palestinian neighbourhood, and 29 others in Sharafat, according to Maariv.

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