Israel will reopen the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound on Sunday, a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday, after the holy site had been shut down following a deadly shooting. On Friday, three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen on the outskirts of the compound, holy to Muslims and Jews, and were then killed by security forces. It was one of the most serious attacks in the area in years. Israeli authorities then shut the compound down citing security concerns, just hours before Muslim Friday prayers. That move prompted anger among Muslim worshippers and was condemned by Palestinian religious and political leaders, Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a world Islamic body, among others, who called for the site to be reopened immediately.
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Netanyahu’s statement said the site, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, would be open from Sunday noon to Muslim worshippers, tourists and Jewish visitors. “Metal detectors will be stationed at the entrance gates to Temple Mount and cameras covering activity on the mount will be installed outside it,” Netanyahu’s statement said. The compound houses the Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. It is managed by Jordanian religious authorities and is adjacent to the Western Wall, a holy site where Jews are permitted to pray.
The compound has proved to be a tinder-box in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past. Under a delicate status quo agreement, Jews are allowed to enter the compound under close supervision, but only Muslims are permitted to pray there.