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United Nations envoy calls for de-escalation of tensions and violence in Jerusalem

United Nations envoy calls for de-escalation of tensions and violence in Jerusalem

The Times of Israel Middle East analyst, Avi Issacharoff, wrote July 20 in the newspaper that the decision to set up comprehensive security inspections and walk-through metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount "may well seem reasonable and justified, in light of the deadly terror attack last Friday near the compound".

Associated Press footage shows police throwing stun grenades to disperse protesters in Ras al-Amud, a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city. In an effort to calm the situation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the attack but also to ask him to reopen the site.

Extra security, including metal detectors, has been in place for a week due to the shooting deaths of two Israeli police officers by three Palestinians, who themselves died in a shootout after they emerged from the mosque.

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

Palestinian media outlets reported that at least four people had been killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in Ras al-Amud.

"The Israelis are well aware and know that past intifadas were inflamed by security measures relating to the mosque".

"To the Zionist enemy I say openly and clearly: al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem are red lines".

"We value the continued custody of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, which guarantees the right for all Muslims to free access and worship to al-Aqsa Mosque according to the prevailing Status Quo".

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Israeli's security cabinet admitted that Israeli police would decide when to remove metal detectors and turnstiles at the compound last week. An Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, was shot dead by Israeli Police.

Thousands of Palestinians generally attend Friday prayers at the compound.

Thousands of Muslims had prayed in the streets surrounding the holy site known as Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif by Muslims in the Old City.

Israel and Jordan are responsible for running the site under a status quo agreement. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the site but can not pray there.

Since the introduction of metal detectors, Palestinians have refused to enter the site, holding prayers outside.

Israeli forces have since increased security around the site, sparking further protests.

Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas Islamist movement that rules Gaza, called on Palestinian demonstrators to confront Israeli troops along the enclave's border on Friday in protest at the Israeli measure.