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Palestinians set for Day of Rage over al-Aqsa control

شعار Al Jazeera Al Jazeera 19/07/2017
Palestinians have been performing prayers outside the the al-Aqsa compound in protest, since it was reopened on Sunday after a two-day closure. [ahmad Gharabli/AFP] © Provided by Al Jazeera Palestinians have been performing prayers outside the the al-Aqsa compound in protest, since it was reopened on Sunday after a two-day closure. [ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

Tensions continue to mount in occupied East Jerusalem as thousands of Palestinians are expected to take part in a Day of Rage to protest against new security measures introduced by Israel at al-Aqsa compound.

The protests follow clashes between Israeli forces and protesters on Tuesday after evening prayers in the occupied city.

The call for the Day of Rage by President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party comes two days after the implementation of metal detectors and turnstiles at the entrance of the al-Aqsa compound following a deadly shootout there on Friday.

In that incident, two Israeli security officers were killed after an alleged attack by three Palestinians who were killed by Israeli police following the violence.

According to officials, at least 14 Palestinians and two Israeli police officers were injured in clashes late on Tuesday.

At least 50 Palestinians were injured in overnight clashes on Monday with Israeli police who remained at the sacred site, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and al-Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.

The Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements have also called for protests on Wednesday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the new security measures.

Sheikh Azzam Khatib Tamimi, head of the Waqf, an Islamic authority in charge of al-Aqsa, said earlier on Wednesday that the authority had instructed "imams in all the mosques in the city of Jerusalem not to hold prayers in their mosques ad to come to al-Aqsa".

The Waqf also said in a statement on Wednesday that "the longer Israel delays the removal of the metal detectors, the worse it is going to get" as more Palestinian worshippers converge outside of Damascus and Lion's Gates in occupied East Jerusalem for prayers.

READ MORE - Timeline: Critical events at the al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinians have already been performing prayers outside the compound in protest, since it was reopened on Sunday after a two-day closure.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said the protests are not just about the implementation of the new security measures by Israel. 

"This isn't about one isolated installation of a security measure," Fawcett said.

"For Palestinians this is about the fact that Israeli forces are an occupying force and the potential that Israel is in contravention of the UN articles guaranteeing freedom of worship, guaranteeing that occupying forces do not change any part of the status quo within the city.

"Palestinians see it as all part of the same narrative and that is why these metal detectors are taking on such much weight"

Also on Wednesday, Israeli authorities closed the compound to Jewish visitors after what they call a violation by some Jewish individuals who appeared to have prayed at the site, which is forbidden to non-Muslim worshippers.

Under the status quo, Muslims are given religious control over the compound and Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there.

READ MORE: Israel's closure of al-Aqsa a 'collective punishment'

On Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that he did not want to alter the status quo, but the Palestinians fear Israel is try to retake control of the site by stealth.

The site houses the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine, Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, as also the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

Questions about control of the site frequently lead to outbursts of fighting.

After Friday's alleged attack, Israel closed off the area, preventing Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time in decades.

Additional reporting by Ibrahim Husseini.


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