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Israel Says It Will Remove Metal Detectors From Jerusalem Site


Security measures outside a Jerusalem holy site have led to protests in the city.

Israel says it will remove metal detectors whose installation at entrances to a Jerusalem holy site angered Muslims and served as a catalyst to violence that killed at least eight people.

A statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet on July 25 said the detectors would be replaced by less-obtrusive means of surveillance, without providing details.

The decision came after a cabinet meeting lasting several hours, the second session on the matter in two days.

Israel installed the metal detectors at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on July 21, after two police guards were shot dead by gunmen on July 14.

The site is considered sacred by both religions, with Muslims referring to it as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount.

Many Palestinians have refused to go through the metal detectors, holding prayers on cobblestone streets outside the gates instead. Many protesters feel the security measures are a violation of long-standing access arrangements at Islam's third-holiest site.

At least five Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces, and three Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian youth during the violence that followed the decision to heighten security around the site.

On July 24, the United Nations warned that the crisis must be swiftly resolved, and a top U.S. official arrived in the country to seek ways to ease tensions.

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said, "It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by [July 28]."

"The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday Prayer without a resolution to this current crisis," he said.

Jason Greenblatt, a top aide to U.S. President Donald Trump, met with Netanyahu along with U.S. envoy to Israel David Friedman on July 24, an Israeli official told the AFP news agency.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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