Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Security Cabinet has voted to remove metal detectors from a holy site in Jerusalem and will use less obtrusive surveillance instead. Tensions rose after two Israeli policemen were killed on July 14 at the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.
A statement from Netanyahu's office on Tuesday said that the 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’.
Some 100 million shekels (USD 28 million) has been allocated to pay for new equipment and extra police officers, the statement added.
The Israeli authorities had said the metal detectors were needed because the gunmen smuggled weapons into the site. However, the move provoked protests.
On July 21, three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces as thousands protested in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Later the same day, three Israeli civilians were stabbed to death and a fourth injured by a Palestinian who entered a home at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank. The site in Jerusalem's Old City is sacred to both Jews and Muslims.
Jews revere it as the location of two Biblical Temples and holiest site in Judaism. It is also the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam.