Some 2,000 members of the Hamas terror group marched in the Gaza Strip Wednesday to mark “victory” after Israel removed contested metal detectors from entrances to the Temple Mount a day earlier in a bid to calm tensions.
The group also called for a fresh “day of rage” throughout the West Bank on Friday to protest continued Israeli security measures at the site.
The group urged Palestinians to “respond to the ongoing events in order to deter Israel from continuing its violations against our people and holy places,” according to Israel’s Channel 2.
It was the second week in a row the Palestinian terrorist group made such a call.
On Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party also called on its supporters, for the second week in a row, to take to the streets in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday in opposition to the security measures at the holy site.
Fatah’s Central Committee said that it would continue protests over the security measures and called for this week’s Friday prayers to again take place outside of the compound.
On Friday, a West Bank teenage terrorist affiliated with Hamas stabbed to death three members of a family having Shabbat dinner in their home in the settlement of Halamish, having written a Facebook post protesting the “defiling” of Al-Aqsa by Jews.
The terror attack came during a weekend that saw violent clashes throughout the West Bank, with five Palestinians killed.
Muslim worshipers have stayed out of the sacred Jerusalem compound since Israel installed metal detectors there last week, in the wake of a July 14 terror attack carried out with guns that had been smuggled onto the site. Instead, they have performed mass prayer protests outside the shrine, some of which devolved into clashes with Israeli security forces.
Immediately following the shooting, Israel took the rare step of closing the Temple Mount to Muslim worshipers on a Friday — the holiest day of the week in Islam — in order to search for weapons, before reopening it two days later after installing metal detectors at the entrances to the compound. Previously detectors had only been placed at the Mughrabi Gate, the entrance for non-Muslim visitors.
The detectors were removed early Tuesday morning amid intense pressure from the Arab and Muslim world, although metal railings and scaffolding placed by the police in recent days are still in the area where the metal detectors once stood, and Muslims have continued to stay away in protest.
Early Tuesday, Israel’s security cabinet said it would replace the metal detectors with “advanced technologies,” referring reportedly to cameras that can detect hidden objects, but said the process could take up to six months.
A Waqf official told The Times of Israel that it was continuing the boycott of the Temple Mount until all security measures added after the attack are removed.
The official noted that “the new high tech cameras” would not be acceptable in place of the metal detectors.
Waqf officials pointed to the increased police presence as an example of security measures they demanded be rolled back along with the metal detectors.
Abbas said on Tuesday he would maintain a freeze on security coordination with Israel — an unprecedented step imposed in the wake of the placement of the metal detectors — “unless all measures go back to what they were before July 14.”
The security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians, in place for years despite near-frozen diplomatic ties, is seen as critical for both Israel and Abbas’s Fatah faction to keep a lid on violence in the West Bank, particularly from Hamas.
Dov Lieber contributed to this report.