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JERUSALEM (Sputnik) — Over the weekend, Arab neighborhoods around the Old City of Jerusalem witnessed clashes between Israeli police and Muslims that gathered near the Old City to go to the Temple Mount and pray in al-Aqsa mosque. Many Muslims refused to go through the metal detectors installed at the entrances to the holy site after the July 14 Palestinian attack that left two Israeli police officers dead. The clashes left at least four Palestinians killed and dozens more injured.
Overnight, five metal detector frames and surveillance cameras were removed from the Lions' Gate, the eastern entrance to the Old City. The metal ramp remains in place to regulate the flow of prayers, and the area is under police control.
The decision to remove the metal detectors was taken by the Israeli Political-Security Cabinet, who decided to use smart inspection technologies in the future.
On July 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would take all necessary measures to ensure security at the Temple Mount and maintain its status quo. The status quo suggests that the holy site, where the mosques of al-Aqsa and Qubbat al-Sakhra stand on the ruins of ancient Jewish temples, is under the autonomous administration of the Islamic religious trust Waqf. Only the followers of Islam can pray on the site, while representatives of other religious traditions are allowed to visit it freely.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced on July 21 a freeze of all contacts with Israel over violence in Jerusalem. On the very same day, three Israeli nationals were killed in a stabbing attack at home in the Jewish settlement of Neve Tsuf in the West Bank.
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