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Six dead as Israeli-Palestinian tensions erupt into violence

Tensions have been high for days after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex, following the killing of two Israeli policemen on July 14.

22 July 2017, 9:50am
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu (left) and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
Israeli prime minister Netanyahu (left) and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
Six people have been killed in what has been described as the bloodiest day of Israeli-Palestinian violence for years, sparked by anger at the installation of new Israeli security measures at Jerusalem’s holiest site.

Three Israelis were stabbed to death in a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hours after three Palestinians were killed amid escalating protests in the city and across Palestinian territories against new Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex.

The violence was sparked by Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians worshipped in the streets around the Old City after refusing to enter the compound – known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, home of the al-Aqsa mosque.

The compound is considered the most sacred site for Jews, who call it Temple Mount and is also the third holiest site in Islam.

A third died later in Ramallah.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced the freezing of all contact between the two sides. “On behalf of the Palestinian leadership I declare a freeze of contacts with the occupying state on all levels until Israel commits to cancelling its measures against our people in general and especially in Jerusalem city and Al-Aqsa mosque.”

Tensions have been high for days with Palestinians hurling rocks and Israeli police using stun grenades after the detectors were installed.

The decision to install the metal detectors at the entry point to the shrine in Jerusalem’s walled Old City on Sunday was made after the killing of two Israeli policemen on July 14.

Resisting international pressure to remove the metal detectors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet insisted that they were needed to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.

Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions had urged the faithful to gather for a “day of rage” against the new security policies, which they see as altering the agreements that have governed the holy site for decades.