Temple Mount partially reopens two days after attack


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Temple Mount partially reopened Sunday, with new metal detectors installed at the entrances used by Muslims.

Prior to Sunday, metal detectors were only stationed at the entrance for non-Muslim visitors.

Two of the nine entrances to the site holy to both Muslims and Jews were reopened at about noon on Sunday, two days after three Arab-Israeli visitors to the site opened fire on Israel Police guarding the area, killing two Druze-Arab Israel Police officers.

Few Muslim worshippers entered the site on Sunday in protest of the metal detectors, according to reports. Worshippers instead held their early afternoon prayer service at the gate.

The Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday also was closed off, except to its residents and foreign tourists, according to reports.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Saturday night that the Temple Mount would be gradually opened to visitors beginning at noon Sunday, and that the entrances would be equipped with metal detectors and security cameras.

“Additional security steps will be taken later,” the statement said, recapping a telephone consultation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Ronni Alsheich, Israel Security Agency Director Nadav Argaman and Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy.

Netanyahu said Saturday night before he left on a plane to Paris that he spoke with the parents of the two Druze-Israeli police officers killed in the Friday attack on the Temple Mount. “I sent them a hug from every citizen of Israel and participation in their awful grief,” Netanyahu said.

He also announced that he ordered the mourners’ tents of the families of the Arab-Israeli murderers to be destroyed.

Police spent the two days of the Temple Mount closure searching the site for weapons, and reportedly removed their shoes when they entered the holy site to conduct their searches. Knives, slingshots, batons, spikes, unexploded ordnance, binoculars and dummy plastic weapons were found at the site, but no firearms or ammunition, Haaretz reported.

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