x

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Muslim elders urge faithful to return to Al Aqsa after Israel backtracks

The elders announced their decision after a report from the Waqf, a Jordaninan-backed body that oversees the Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem

Palestinian women pray outside Al Aqsa mosque compound. Waqf encourage Muslim faithful to return to pray at the mosque following Israel's removal of cameras, metal detectors and other security measures. Amir Cohen / Reuters
Palestinian women pray outside Al Aqsa mosque compound. Waqf encourage Muslim faithful to return to pray at the mosque following Israel's removal of cameras, metal detectors and other security measures. Amir Cohen / Reuters

Muslim elders encouraged faithful to return to pray at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque on Thursday after deeming that Israel had removed all security measures installed after an attack in the Old City earlier this month that sparked violence.

The elders announced their decision after a report from the Waqf, a Jordanian-backed body that oversees the Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem. Israel installed metal detectors, cameras and other measures following a July 14 attack in which two policemen were shot dead. Days of violent protests followed.

"The technical report showed that all obstacles the occupation [Israel] put outside Al Aqsa mosque were removed," the head of the Waqf, Abdel-Azeem Salhab, said.

"We praise this stand in the past two weeks outside Al Aqsa and we want this stand to continue outside Al Aqsa and now inside Al Aqsa," he said, urging worshippers to return to the site.

Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians cheered early Thursday morning as trucks loaded with metal detectors infrastructures were leaving the area.

"Police first placed metal detectors, which were also quickly removed following wide spread protests, then planned to set up x-ray vision cameras and built the infrastructure for them, which were also removed on Thursday," the Palestinian News and Information Agency, WAFA, said.

It explained that Palestinians look at the removal of the installations as a victory in their two-week long battle against Israeli changes at the holy site.

"Palestinians insist on returning the situation at the gates to Al Aqsa mosque to the way it was before the Israeli infringement started on July 14th before they would return life at the gates to the mosque to normal," added WAFA.