World Bulletin / News Desk
Mosque officials told worshipers not to pass through new metal detectors set up at the gates when the holy site reopened Sunday following a two-day closure in response to a deadly shooting inside the compound before Friday prayers.
Palestinians say the security measures change the delicate balance of prayer and visiting rights at the site, known as the status quo.
Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, was among the worshipers who protested at Lions Gate, a major entrance to the Old City, after midday prayers.
"They [Israelis] broke the protest because they don't want people to be near Al-Aqsa mosque, they don't want their measures to be exposed," he said.
"They will not succeed, we will back for the next prayer and the prayer after,” he said.
"This will be the beginning of a popular Palestinian uprising," Barghouti said, calling on Arab countries to place sanctions on Israel in response.
Muslim worshipers have congregated at two of the main entrances to the mosque for each of the five daily prayers as part of the ongoing protests.
The site is considered exceptionally holy by both Muslims and Jews, who call it the Temple Mount.
Israel closed the holy site on Friday after two Israeli police officers and three Palestinians were killed in a shootout, saying they were searching for weapons.
The attack was condemned by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but the Palestinian Authority has also since criticized Israel's reaction.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the installation of metal detectors and other new security measures on Saturday night.
"We will also install security cameras on poles outside the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa compound] but which give almost complete control over what goes on there. I decided that as of tomorrow, in the framework of our policy of maintaining the status-quo, we will gradually open the Temple Mount, but with increased security measures," he said.
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