Israel says to "gradually" re-open Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-16 04:14:46|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JERUSALEM, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Israeli authorities said on Saturday that the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which was closed after a deadly shootout on Friday, will be gradually re-opened on Sunday to Muslim worshippers and tourists.

In the attack, three Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel shot dead two Israeli policemen in the holy compound. The gunmen were later shot and killed by the police. In the wake of the attack, Israel closed the compound.

A police statement said on Saturday that the compound will be "reopened gradually to worshippers, visitors and tourists starting from tomorrow at noon."

The decision came after a consultation over the phone between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Police Chief Roni Alsheikh and Nadav Argaman, head of the Shin Bet security service.

According to their directions, metal detectors will be installed at the entrance, in addition to new security cameras that will cover the entire compound.

"Further security measures would be introduced later," the statement read.

The move came after Muslim countries strongly condemned the closure of the compound, which is Islam's third holiest site.

Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, secretary general of The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, slammed on Saturday the closure, the first time since 1969, as "a crime, a serious precedent and a blatant attack on the holy sites and an attack on the rights and freedom of Palestinians to practice their religious rites."

Yehya Soud, head of Jordan's Palestine Committee of the Lower House, also called for the re-opening of the mosque, saying his country was exerting pressure on Israel in this regard.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, holy to both Muslims and Jews, is one of the most sensitive sites in the region. Muslims revere it as the Noble Sanctuary, and Jews know it as the Temple Mount.