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2 Palestinians die of wounds as al-Aqsa tensions escalate

Israeli forces attempt to disperse Palestinian Muslim worshipers outside Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds' Old City on July 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Two Palestinian teenagers have succumbed to their injuries sustained in a fresh wave of tensions over Israel’s imposition of restrictive measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Oday Nawajaa, 17, died on Saturday after being hit by Israeli live fire in the West Bank city of al-Eizariya.

Another 18-year-old Palestinian sustained fatal injuries in the West Bank town of Abu Dis when a petrol bomb exploded prematurely, the ministry added.

Tensions erupted in the occupied territories on July 14, when a deadly shooting took place outside the Haram al-Sharif which Jews call Temple Mount.

Following the incident, Israeli police briefly shut down the al-Aqsa compound and canceled Muslim Friday prayers at the holy site.

Faced with mounting criticism, Israel reopened the compound on July 16, but with metal detectors and surveillance cameras put up at entrances.

Since then, however, Palestinians have been refusing to enter the al-Aqsa compound while holding mass prayers outside the site, some of which have turned violent. 

Israel installs new cameras

On Sunday, Israel installed new cameras at Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Israeli media reported that the cameras are able to identify people carrying weapons without the use of metal detectors.

It was not clear if the new camera system had also been set up at the Chain Gate and the Mughrabi Gate, two other access points to the Haram al-Sharif.

An Israeli TV report said Saturday night that the regime was set to remove the metal detectors at al-Aqsa gates and set up fenced-off “sleeves” there.

Muslim worshipers would be required to file through the narrow routes while people deemed suspicious would be checked with hand-held metal detectors, the report added.

Palestinian Muslim worshipers pray outside Lions' Gate, a main entrance to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds' Old City on July 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

According to the Red Crescent, 390 Palestinians have been wounded, including close to 100 hospitalized for Israeli live fire or rubber bullet injuries over the past few days.

Three Palestinians have been killed in street clashes with Israeli forces in Jerusalem al-Quds and three Israelis in an alleged stabbing attack at a West Bank settlement.

On Saturday, Israeli police used stun grenades and water cannons to disperse dozens of stone-throwing Palestinians.

Palestinians say Israel’s fresh restrictions at al-Aqsa are meant to expand the regime’s control over the highly-sensitive site and change its status quo.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the suspension of all official contact with Tel Aviv until it removed the metal detectors at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound gates.

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Arab League to hold emergency meeting  

Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary general of the Arab League, has told the Asharq al-Awsat daily that foreign ministers from the 22-member pan-Arab body will attend an emergency meeting within 48 hours upon the request of Jordan in order to discuss the latest developments in Jerusalem al-Quds and the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Jerusalem al-Quds' top Muslim cleric, Mohammed Hussein, has said that protests against Israel’s restrictions will continue until the devices are removed, stressing, “We will not back off."

The Middle East Quartet, comprising Russia, the US, the European Union and the United Nations, has expressed concerns over the growing escalation in Jerusalem al-Quds. The UN Security Council is expected to meet on Monday to discuss the tensions. 

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Muslims stage al-Aqsa solidarity demos

Muslims have held anti-Israeli protests in Jordan, Turkey and Malaysia.

Demonstrators gathered in the Jordanian capital, Amman, calling on the Arab and Muslim world to unify and "condemn the targeting of Jerusalem [al-Quds] and al-Aqsa Mosque"

Jordan's official Petra news agency reported that several political parties had issued a statement underlining the need for "unity of ranks" among Palestinians in order to "stand up to the Israeli plans."

Jordanians shout slogans during a demonstration in Amman following Friday prayers on July 21, 2017, to protest against new Israeli restrictive measures at al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo by AFP)

Additionally, the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul witnessed rallies in solidarity with al-Aqsa.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the Israeli measures at al-Aqsa "don't help to solve any problem, on the contrary, they will lead to an increase of tension in the region.”

Thousands of Malaysians also took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against Israel.

The protest ended at the US embassy, where representatives of the demonstrators delivered a letter in condemnation of the Israeli actions.

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