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After Bloody Weekend, Israel Beefs Up Security at Holy Site

Standoff over compound could signal long wave of violence
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2017 7:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – The standoff over Jerusalem's holiest site intensified with Israel beefing up security after a weekend of violence. Israeli police on Sunday added security cameras to entrances of the Al Aqsa Mosque, where the placement of metal detectors days earlier infuriated Muslims, the Wall Street Journal reports. Palestinians have refused to enter the compound since the detectors with electronic gates were installed in response an attack there by three Arab gunmen that killed two Israeli police officers. An order Friday closing the compound to Muslim men under 50 triggered a wave of violence, including a shooting Sunday inside the Israeli Embassy in Amman, Jordan, that left two Jordanians dead and one Israeli wounded, and raised fears of an extended wave of violence, per the New York Times.

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Israel insisted the security measures didn't change anything regarding the prolonged dispute over governance of the site, claimed by both Palestinians who call it the Noble Sanctuary and Jews who call it the Temple Mount. Still, Israeli minister Tzachi Hanegbi was unbowed, telling Army radio via the Journal that "the checkpoints will stay … The government of Israel isn’t willing to put up with acts of murder." Meanwhile, US envoy Jason Greenblatt left for Israel “to support efforts to reduce tensions in the region,” a senior administration official tells the Journal. The standoff prompted Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to clarify that his order last week halting contact with Israel included coordination between security forces. "Things will be very difficult," Abbas tells the news agency Wafa, via the Times. "We do not gamble with the fate of our people." (Read more noble sanctuary stories.)

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