JERUSALEM: Israel removed metal detectors from a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday and said they would no longer be used after the new security measures set off deadly violence.
The move came after intensive international diplomacy seeking to stop the outbreak of wider unrest, with warnings that it could spread far beyond Israel and the Palestinian territories.
A work crew could be seen in the early hours of Tuesday removing the metal detectors at one entrance, an AFP journalist reported.
Muslim officials said all had been dismantled.
Israel’s security cabinet accepted “the recommendation of all the security bodies to change the inspection with metal detectors to a security inspection based on advanced technologies and other means,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
As word spread of the decision, a few hundred Palestinians gathered to celebrate near an entrance to the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
One person set off a firework, prompting Israeli police to raid and disperse them using sound grenades.
Details of the advanced technologies the cabinet spoke of were not clear, though cameras were installed at entrances to the site this week.