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Israel Reopens Aqsa Compound after Two-Day Closure | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli border police officers stand guard at the entrance to the Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP)

Israeli authorities reopened the al-Aqsa Compound on Sunday, two days after it was closed following a deadly shooting.

The closure had sparked fears of the eruption of clashes.

Director of the Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani had warned that the prolonged closure of the mosque would be tantamount to an invitation for violence in the region.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Israel is reoccupying the mosque for the first time since 1967 through preventing the call to prayer and worshippers from praying at the site, including on Friday.”

“We are closely watching the development and hold Israel completely responsible for what is taking place at al-Aqsa,” he warned.

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.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Saturday that 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.