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Muslim Worshippers Shun Temple Mount Despite Removal Of Metal Detectors

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Metal detectors and security cameras installed at entrances to the Temple Mount for Muslim worshippers were removed  hours after the announcement of a Security Cabinet decision to do so.

By Tuesday morning the security measures that had been put in place less than two weeks ago were completely removed.

The Security Cabinet announced late Monday night that it would instead incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies, called ‘smart checks,’ and other measures instead of metal detectors. Israel will pay up to 100 million shekels or about $30 million over the next six months to install the new devices.

The Muslim Waqf, the religious trust that administers the holy sites at the Temple Mount, on Tuesday announced that despite the removal of the metal detectors and security cameras that worshippers should continue to stay away from the Temple Mount, and rejected any security measures, including advanced technologies, calling for “completely” free worship for Muslims at the site.

A committee representing the Waqf was scheduled to tour the site later Tuesday and  review the situation, Haaretz reported.

A Waqf official told the Times of Israel that “the new high tech cameras” would not be accepted in place of the metal detectors.

The new security measures had been put into place after three Arab-Israelis shot and killed two Druze Israeli police officers at the holy site on July 14. Once the  metal detectors were put in place, Muslims refused to enter the Temple Mount, instead praying outside of its gates, leading to clashes and the deaths of at least 5 Palestinians in recent days.

The decision to remove the devices came  after days of intensive consultations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordanian King Abdullah, and the Trump administration, including President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the region, Jason Greenblatt, who flew in on Sunday to help calm the tensions.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Netanyahu issued a statement in which e thanked President Donald Trump “for directing Jared Kushner and dispatching Jason Greenblatt to help with our efforts to bring the Israeli embassy staff home quickly. I thank King Abdullah as well for our close cooperation.”

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