Palestinians residents of occupied East Jerusalem performed dawn prayers outside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Monday to show their opposition to new metal detectors installed by Israeli authorities at the mosque’s entrances, which came in response to a deadly shooting attack at the holy site on Friday.
Dozens of worshippers refused to pass through the metal detectors and gathered to pray outside of the Lions’ Gate entrance to the compound, which was opened Sunday after the compound had been under a rare closure since the attack.
Several Palestinians, both men and women, described the metal detectors as violation of their right to freedom of worship and their right to enter the mosque freely.
Israeli forces had installed a total of nine metal detectors at the Lions’ Gate (Bab al-Asbat), the Chain Gate (Bab al-Silsila), and the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis).
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) denounced the recent Israeli restrictions in Jerusalem’s Old City, claiming that such measures were “part of Israeli policies applied to create a Jewish majority in the City and part of the Israeli collective punishment policy in the Palestinian territory,” in contravention of international law.
As of Sunday, Al-Aqsa and the entirety of the Old City has remained shuttered since Friday to Palestinians who don’t reside in the area, while Israelis and tourists have been allowed to enter the Old City.
Palestinian officials held a meeting on Sunday to discuss the Israeli measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, affirming that the status quo at the compound should remain as it was before the deadly shooting, expressing opposition to the Israeli decision to install the metal detectors.