Efforts to solve Al-Aqsa crisis stagnate amid violence


Attempts to solve a crisis in Jerusalem over new security measures at one of its most important holy sites after a bloody weekend appear to have stagnated Sunday.

Despite hopes new metal detectors Israel installed at Al-Aqsa Mosque-following a deadly shootout-would be removed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed little after his weekly cabinet meeting.

"We are receiving from them an up-to-date picture of the situation, as well as recommendations for action, and we will decide accordingly. We are conducting this calmly, determinedly and responsibly and thus we will continue to act in order to maintain security," said Netanyahu, who is expected to meet with his security cabinet later Sunday.

The Islamic Waqf, which runs the holy site and has called for Muslims to pray outside Al-Aqsa until the metal detectors are removed, has said it will only accept a return to the previous arrangements.

"We affirm the categorical rejection of the metal detectors and all occupation measures," the Waqf said in a statement.

Netanyahu decided to keep the metal detectors after an emergency meeting on Thursday night, despite fears of violence when thousands were expected to gather for weekly congregational prayers on Friday.

At least four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces since then, while three Israelis were also killed in an alleged stabbing attack inside their home in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that he would be cutting all contacts with Israelis until calm was restored.

A senior Palestinian official, who cannot be named, told Anadolu Agency that Abbas warned the U.S. he would take the step if violence broke out, during a phone call with President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Israel has claimed the metal detectors are a necessary response to an attack inside Al-Aqsa that killed two Israeli police officers, as well as three Palestinians, but Palestinians have accused Israel of trying to impose its control over the holy site, which is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

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