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Egypt expresses concerns about closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque

17 Juillet 2017

Muslims walking by the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem's Old City, on their way to pray on the second day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Jun 30 2014.

Israel made the rare move after three Palestinian terrorists opened fire there Friday, killing two Israeli police officers before being shot dead.

The Jerusalem Islamic Wakf, a Muslim religious body overseeing the compound, has urged the worshipers to refrain from entering the Temple Mount.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is within the closed area so Muslims were unable to hold Friday prayers there.

On Sunday, Islamic authorities in Jerusalem called on Palestinians to avoid entering the Temple Mount, following a decision by Israel to place checkpoints with metal detectors at the compound gates.

Crowds chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) as they gathered near the Lions Gate entrance to Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday.

Jerusalem police commissioner Yoram Halevy said the metal detectors were necessary for the site to reopen.

Israeli Prime Minister, however, said he told the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that there would be no change to the status quo on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

WCC acting general secretary Isabel Apawo Phiri condemned the July 14 attack and expressed condolences, reaching out with prayers for those who lost loved ones due to the most recent violence as well as recurring violence in the same area.

Netanyahu has promised to honour long-standing access agreements, saying the status quo governing the site "will be preserved".

Following the incident, the Israeli police closed the compound and canceled Muslim Friday prayers at the site.

A 23-year-old policewoman died last month after she was stabbed near the city's Damascus Gate.

Home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, it is Islam's third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

It is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

About 600 Muslims had entered the temple from when it opened at 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. - far fewer than the thousands that usually visit the mosque.

Palestinian officials reject the accusation and say the violence steps from anger over Israeli occupation of land sought by Palestinians for an independent state.

Egypt expresses concerns about closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque