The Latest: More clashes after nightfall at Jerusalem site
Jul. 27, 2017
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on developments on a contested shrine in Israel (all times local):
Violent clashes have erupted anew between Israeli security forces and Palestinians outside the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, near a flashpoint holy site.
The Palestinian Red Crescent says at least eight people have been wounded in the melee that broke out after nightfall on Thursday.
The director of a Palestinian hospital also says a Palestinian man who was wounded in clashes with Israeli troops earlier this week has died of his injuries.
Dr. Ahmad Betawi, head of a West Bank hospital, says 26-year-old Mohammed Kanan sustained a head injury after he was struck Monday by a live bullet in an altercation outside Jerusalem.
At least four other Palestinians have died in the past week in violent clashes with Israeli security forces amid protests over the Jerusalem site that is sacred to both Jews and Muslims.
Earlier, it appeared that calm was restored and President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt said the United States "welcomes the efforts undertaken to de-escalate tensions in Jerusalem today."
Greenblatt said the calm "will create the best opportunity to return to dialogue and the pursuit of peace."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered police reinforcements deployed to Jerusalem following clashes at a flashpoint holy site.
The order came as police were evaluating on Thursday whether to restrict entry to the contested shrine for Friday prayers.
The prime minister's office says in a statement that Netanyahu consulted his defense and public security ministers and orders more officers to the city.
Dozens of Muslim worshippers were wounded in clashes with Israeli police on Thursday, and at least two police officers were wounded, after thousands entered the walled compound for prayers for the first time in nearly two weeks.
Israeli security forces are on high alert ahead of Friday prayers at the site. Palestinian factions have called for a day of mass protests against Israel.
Arab foreign ministers have met at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo to discuss the latest Palestinian-Israeli tensions over Jerusalem's most contested shrine.
Thursday's meeting sought to address the escalation after Israel installed metal detectors following a deadly attack by three Israeli Arab gunmen inside the compound, holy to both Muslims and Jews.
That attack killed two Israeli officers. The issue also set off street clashes that killed three Palestinians. Three Israelis were killed by a Palestinian in a stabbing attack at a West Bank settlement.
Israel dismantled the metal detectors after a wave of Muslim outrage.
On Thursday, Muslim worshippers returned to pray inside the Al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinian worshippers had been praying outside the shrine in protest against the Israeli security measures.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling for the death penalty for a Palestinian man who sneaked into a West Bank settlement home last week and killed three Israelis.
Netanyahu on Thursday visited the family of the three Israelis stabbed to death and said that "the time has come for the death penalty for terrorists in extreme cases."
Though Israeli law permits the death penalty, the Israeli government has only put one person to death: Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, in 1962.
Netanyahu says his position in the case of the 19-year-old Palestinian attacker, who was wounded by an off-duty soldier during Friday night's attack, "is that he needs to be put to death."
Several members of Netanyahu's cabinet issued similar calls in the week since the attack.
Jordan's king has paid a condolence visit to the family of a 16-year-old who was shot and killed by a security guard at Israel's Embassy in the kingdom earlier this week.
Authorities have said the guard was attacked by the teen with a screw driver during an argument over a furniture delivery. The guard opened fire, killing Mohammed Jawawdeh and a Jordanian man next to him.
Israel's embassy staff returned to Israel a day later. Israel's prime minister has praised the guard.
The incident has inflamed public opinion in Jordan where a peace treaty with Israel remains deeply unpopular.
King Abdullah II on Thursday visited the mourning tent of the Jawawdeh family.
Earlier, the monarch said Israel displayed "unacceptable and provocative behavior" in connection with the shooting.
Clashes have erupted between Israeli police and Palestinians worshippers at a contested Jerusalem shrine, shortly after the site reopened following an 11-day Muslim prayer boycott.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Thursday as Palestinians threw stones inside the walled compound that is holy to Muslims and Jews.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said 37 Palestinians were hurt, including some by rubber bullets and beatings. It said several people suffered broken bones.
Israeli police say the police responded after stones were thrown at officers at the gates to the site.
The Red Crescent said tensions arose when Israeli troops closed one of the gates to the compound as large numbers of worshippers tried to enter.
The shrine had been at the center of an Israeli-Palestinian standoff over recent Israeli security installations at the site. Israel has removed the devices.
Jordan's king says Israel displayed "unacceptable and provocative behavior" in connection with a deadly shooting at Israel's Embassy in the kingdom earlier this week.
An Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians after one of them, a 16-year-old, attacked him with a screwdriver.
Israel's embassy staff, including the guard, left for Israel a day after the shooting. The incident has inflamed public opinion in Jordan where a 1994 peace treaty with Israel remains deeply unpopular.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the guard upon his return, saying he had acted "calmly."
Jordan's King Abdullah told senior officials on Thursday that Netanyahu needs to take legal measures that "guarantee the trial of the murderer."
He said the incident "will have a direct impact on the nature of our relations."
Thousands of Muslims have flocked to a contested Jerusalem holy site for the first organized prayers in almost two weeks.
This comes after Israel removed controversial security measures placed at the entrance of the shrine following a July 14 attack in which three Israeli Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police officers.
Palestinians on Thursday mounted the roof of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place for Muslims, and waved their national flag in celebration.
Earlier in the day, Muslim leaders told worshippers to return to the site, considered holy to Jews and Muslims alike, after Israel removed metal detectors and cameras put in place last week.
Muslim officials had called for a boycott of prayers at the compound, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount, because of the measures.
Throngs are also expected to visit the walled compound in Jerusalem's Old City for Friday prayers, and Israeli security forces remain on high alert.
Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah both called for mass protests Friday in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Israeli police remain on high alert around Jerusalem's Old City ahead of the first Muslim prayers at a contested holy site since controversial security measures were removed.
Muslim leaders told the faithful to return to praying at the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, after a week of protests over metal detectors and cameras put in place following a deadly attack on Israeli police officers.
The security measures outraged Palestinians, sparking protests.
The first Muslim prayers in over a week were set to commence around 4:30 p.m. Thousands had been praying in the streets outside the walled compound since the crisis began.
Israel's police chief Roni Alsheikh told reporters that metal detectors and cameras were removed in compliance with a decision by the Israeli Cabinet, and that police have been given the necessary resources to protect all visitors and worshippers to the shrine.
He says that restrictions on entry to the holy site will depend on public order.
Jordan has welcomed Israel's removal of security installations at a contested Jerusalem shrine, saying that as an occupying power "Israel has no right to impose" changes on the ground.
Government spokesman Mohammed Momani's statement Thursday came after Israel removed metal railings and scaffoldings. Jordan is the Muslim custodian of the shrine — the third holiest site of Islam and the most sacred on in Judaism.
Momani says dismantling the devices was needed to calm the situation.
Israel installed metal detectors, additional security cameras and other devices last week after Arab gunmen killed two police officers there in mid-July.
Muslims alleged the security measures were an attempt by Israel to expand control over the shrine, a claim Israel denies. The dispute sparked widespread Muslim protests.
A senior Islamic leader in Jerusalem is urging Muslims to skip prayers in neighborhood mosques on Friday and pray en masse at a major Jerusalem shrine at the center of weeks of tensions.
Abdel Azim Salhab, of the Waqf, Jordan's religious body that administers the site, says "we call on Imams to close all mosques in Jerusalem Friday in order for all worshippers to pray Friday prayer in Al-Aqsa mosque only."
Friday prayers are the highlight of the Muslim religious week. Thousands of Muslims from around the country and Palestinian areas typically worship at the holy compound in Jerusalem's Old City.
Muslims have been praying in the streets outside the shrine to protest Israeli security measures outside entrances to the site that were put in place following a deadly Palestinian shooting assault there earlier this month.
The Waqf official spoke Thursday after Muslim officials told the faithful to return to pray inside the site, holy to both Muslims and Jews, after Israel removed the security devices.
A senior member of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government has criticized Israel's dismantling of security devices outside a major Jerusalem shrine.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, warned that Israel's capitulation could spell more violence.
He told Army Radio that "every time the state of Israel folds in a strategic way we get hit with an Intifada. You seemingly benefit in the short term but in the long term you harm deterrence."
Islamic leaders in Jerusalem told the faithful to return to pray inside the site, holy to both Muslims and Jews, after Israel removed security devices it installed outside entrances to the shrine following a deadly Palestinian attack at the compound.
Israel's decision to add the security measures there outraged Muslims and triggered protests and violence.
Muslim leaders in Jerusalem are telling the faithful to return to a holy site to pray after Israel removed security devices it installed there.
The leaders said Thursday morning they will enter the contested site soon.
The leaders met after Israel removed an overhead metal bridge and railings it recently installed outside the shrine after a Palestinian attack at the compound. It dismantled metal detectors there earlier this week.
Thousands of Palestinians have been praying in the streets outside the shrine after religious leaders told them not to worship inside the holy compound in protest.
The Islamic militant group that rules Gaza is hailing as a "victory" Israel's removal of security measures outside a major Jerusalem shrine.
Izzat Risheq, a senior Hamas leader, on Thursday tweeted that Palestinians achieved a "historic victory." He said "Today, our people celebrate the removal of the gates (security measures), tomorrow they will celebrate the removal of the occupation itself."
Risheq made the comments after Israel removed the new security measures it installed earlier this month outside a major Jerusalem shrine, holy to Muslims and Jews, after Palestinian gunmen shot and killed two police officers from within the site.
Muslim leaders are telling worshippers to continue praying outside a contested Jerusalem holy site until they decide how to proceed after Israel removed some security measures it installed following a deadly Palestinian attack.
The director of Al-Aqsa mosque, Omar Kiswani, said a meeting of Muslim leaders would be held later Thursday morning.
Israel removed an overhead metal bridge and railings at an entrance to the site, meeting a demand by Muslim protesters. Earlier this week, Israel removed metal detectors there.
Israel installed the new security measures after Arab gunmen shot and killed two police officers from within the site earlier this month. It said they were necessary to prevent more attacks. Palestinians were outraged by the move and claimed Israel was trying to expand its control over the site, a charge Israel strongly denies.
Israel has removed an overhead metal bridge and the railings it had recently installed near a contested Jerusalem holy site, meeting a demand by Muslim protesters and causing thousands of Palestinians to celebrate in the streets.
Muslim leaders say they will decide later in the day Thursday whether worshippers can return to the shrine for prayers and end a crisis that Israel hoped it had resolved by making concessions at the site.
The head of the Supreme Islamic Committee, Ikrema Sabri, had said previously that worshippers would not return to the shrine until Israel removed the new railings and cameras it installed after a deadly attack there.
Israel installed new security measures earlier this month after Arab gunmen shot and killed two police officers from within the site.