Islamic leaders boycott Jerusalem site over metal detectors

JERUSALEM (AP) — Islamic leaders called on Muslims on Monday to boycott a Jerusalem holy site at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a gesture of protest after Israel set up metal detectors at the site’s entrance gates following a deadly Arab attack there last week.

For the first time in decades, Israel closed the site — sacred to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount — on Friday, after three Arab Muslim Israeli citizens opened fire from the holy compound with automatic weapons, killing two police officers before they were shot and killed.

Israel reopened the compound to Muslim worshippers on Sunday after imposing new security measures, including metal detectors at the entrance gates and additional security cameras.

The Waqf, Jordan’s Islamic authority that manages religious affairs at the site, was outraged over the metal detectors. Dozens of worshippers have prayed on the streets near the gate after refusing to enter via the metal detectors.

Police said Monday evening that some 200 Palestinians tried to block a road nearby and threw stones at officers who dispersed them. A day earlier, minor scuffles broke out as some Muslim worshippers tried to stop others from using the gates, Israeli media reported.

Police said that despite the tensions, hundreds of worshippers had entered the compound.

The Waqf, together with other Islamic groups, issued a statement Monday calling on Muslims “to reject and boycott all the Israeli aggression measures, including changing the historical status quo including imposing the metal detectors.”

They called on the faithful “not to enter the mosque through” the detectors. The statement further said that “if the metal detectors continue to be imposed, we call upon the people to pray in front of the gates of the mosque and in the streets of Jerusalem.”

The fate of the compound, holy to both Jews and Muslims, is an emotional issue and forms the centerpiece of rival Israeli and Palestinian national…

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