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Tight Security as Visitors Ascend Temple Mount Monday

Courtesy GPO, Moshe Milner

JERUSALEM, Israel – By Monday morning the Temple Mount had reopened to all visitors following Friday's deadly terror attack. Israel closed the site when three Israeli Arabs killed two policemen and injured a third in a brutal attack at the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City.  

On Sunday, only Muslims were allowed to enter the contested site, which Islam refers to as Haram al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary. It is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

For the first time in a while, Jews were permitted on the Temple Mount without being escorted by someone from the Wakf, the Islamic trust that administers the day-to-day activities there.

Israel reopened the area at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, but only after installing metal detectors and security cameras. This new security measure angered Muslim clerics who urged worshippers to protest by holding prayer outside the entrance.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said security cameras installed outside the Temple Mount would give "almost complete control over what goes on there," promising the site would be reopened, "but with increased security measures."

In addition to closing the site for the first time in nearly 50 years, Netanyahu issued orders to destroy the mourners' tents erected in Umm al-Fahm, the northern Israeli Arab city where the terrorists lived.

The day after the attack, the White House issued a statement saying, among other things, "There must be zero tolerance for terrorism. It is incompatible with achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it, and eradicate it."

The statement also supported Israel's decision to close the site temporarily.  

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, meanwhile, urged Arab leadership to speak out.

"It is time for the Arab leadership in Israel, and even outside it, to express a clear position against this criminal attack," the president said in a statement.

Both Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, condemned Israel for the temporary closing and called for more resistance against the "occupiers."

While Jordan's King Abdullah II condemned the attack, the Jordanian parliament praised and prayed for the "martyrs" who carried it out.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan summed it up by saying, "Live fire from inside the Temple Mount crosses every red line."

Despite continuing objections from the Wakf's imams (clerics) over the security measures, Monday's visitors to the site ascended the Temple Mount without incident.


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