Israel began removing metal detectors from entrances to a major Jerusalem shrine early Tuesday morning to defuse a crisis over the site that angered the Muslim world and triggered some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years, the AP reports. The Israeli security Cabinet had met for a second straight day Monday to find an alternative to the metal detectors at the al-Aqsa compound, which were installed following a deadly Palestinian attack at the holy site. "The Security Cabinet accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies ("smart checks") and other measures instead of metal detectors," Israel announced Tuesday morning. It added that police will increase forces in the area until the new security measures are in place.
Israel erected the metal detectors after Arab gunmen killed two policemen from inside the shrine, holy to Muslims and Jews, earlier this month. The move incensed the Muslim world and triggered violence. The fate of the site is an emotional issue at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Even the smallest perceived change to delicate arrangements pertaining to the site sparks tensions. The 37-acre walled compound in Jerusalem is the third holiest site of Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It is also the holiest site of Judaism, revered as the place where biblical Temples once stood. President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.