Jerusalem: Three Palestinians have been killed in Jerusalem amid the increasing protests against new Israeli security measures at a highly sensitive holy site.
Two died in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem after the Friday prayers, during which thousands of Palestinians prayed in the streets around the Old City after refusing to enter the compound known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, which houses the al-Aqsa mosque. A third victim died later in Ramallah, reports the Guardian.
The compound is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who call it Temple Mount.
Following the deadly shootout inside the compound last Friday in which two Israeli policeman were killed, metal detectors were installed by Israeli police.
This sparked massive outrage among Palestinians, who claim the new security controls on worshippers represent a breach of the status quo at the flashpoint location.
Israel’s decision to leave the metal detectors in place came after calls on Thursday for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to back down and remove the devices so as not to worsen the situation.
The clashes with Israeli security forces followed a call by the waqf for other mosques to remain closed and for Palestinians to converge in the area around the Old City to pray.
In an additional controversial security measure, Israel restricted entry to the mosque area and Old City on Friday to men aged 50 and over and women.