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Israel removes iron guardrails at Al-Aqsa gates

ISRAEL REMOVES IRON GUARDRAILS AT AL-AQSA GATES

Police removed the iron guardrails at the Al-Alqa Mosque's gates early Thursday.

It followed a decision Monday by the Israeli security cabinet to remove the metal detectors but the guardrails were left behind.

While Palestinians immediately celebrated the removal at the Esbat Gate of Al-Aqsa some remained cautious.

Al-Aqsa Waqf, or pious foundation, a religious trust that manages Islamic buildings at the compound, was hesitant and director Omar Kiswani announced it would not be in a hurry to enter Al-Aqsa.

"We will wait for the technical committee, which we assigned, to complete its investigation at Al-Aqsa. We will not hurry up on our decision to enter Al-Aqsa or not," Kiswani told reporters at the Esbat Gate.

The Al- Quds, or Jerusalem, High Islamic Board had previously announced it would not enter Al-Aqsa before the technical committee issued its report.

Israeli authorities closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, venerated by Muslims and Jews -- who call the site Temple Mount -- and canceled weekly Friday prayers for the first time in nearly five decades, following a deadly shootout July 14.

The mosque was later reopened after police installed metal detectors and cameras at its gates.

Muslims protested the measures in demonstrations and clashes with police that led to the deaths of 11 people, including eight Palestinians. But Israel refused to remove the detectors, claiming the security measures were similar to procedures used at other holy sites around the world.

Bowing to international pressure, Israel's security cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors but said a new surveillance system using "smart checks" based on advanced technology would be put in place.

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