Jerusalem, July 21 (IANS) Hundreds of Palestinians on Friday held protests across the Gaza Strip over the Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The demonstrations came after Israel’s Cabinet decided not to remove the metal detectors installed at the entrances to the Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, following a shooting attack nearby last Friday that killed two policemen, Xinhua news agency reported.
In anticipation of the protests on Friday, Israeli police barred access of Muslim men under 50 to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and deployed some 3,000 policemen near the site.
The Islamic Hamas movement and other Palestinian factions and political powers called Friday “a day of rage in support for the mosque”.
Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas deputy chief in Gaza, told a rally where hundreds of Hamas supporters joined that the Palestinian National Authority should immediately sever security cooperation with Israel.
“To reward the blood of the martyrs and the suffering of our people, the PNA should immediately stop security cooperation,” he said.
Al-Hayya called on all Arab and Islamic countries to close all Israeli embassies and expel Israeli ambassadors in protest against the new Israeli measures this week at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Our Palestinian people already declared its word that electronic gates and cameras at Al-Aqsa Mosque are totally rejected, and they are fully ready to sacrifice their fleshes and spirits for the sake of the mosque,” he said.
Following a shooting attack last Friday, where three Palestinian attackers and two Israeli policemen were killed, Israel closed the mosque in the face of prayers and put electronic gates and inserted cameras at the gates that lead to the mosque.
Worshippers had been refusing to enter due to the new metal detectors, with Palestinians charging the step is an Israeli attempt to claim further control over the site. The measures sparked daily clashes between worshippers and police, with dozens of Palestinians injured.
Clashes also broke out between demonstrators and Israeli soldiers after the Friday prayers on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.
One Palestinian was killed in Ras al-Amood neighbourhood in East Jerusalem and dozens were injured in the clash, medical sources in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.
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