The head of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah called Israel’s removal of metal detectors from Temple Mount entrances a “victory” in a televised speech Wednesday, even as Muslim leaders have said that the move is not enough and vowed to continue protests.
“The resistance salutes and hails the people of Jerusalem, the West Bank and all Palestinians, who have flocked to the Old City in defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and have managed to impose a new victory through forcing the enemy to remove its new measures,” Hassan Nasrallah said, according to a report in the Lebanese daily al-Nahar.
Israel placed the metal detectors and cameras at entrances to the Temple Mount following a shooting attack on July 14, in which three Arab-Israeli men killed two Israeli policemen with guns they had smuggled into the holy site.
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 from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in protest.
The Jerusalem Waqf — the Jordanian institution responsible for administering the site — along with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said they would continue to urge worshipers to continue praying in the streets rather than in their own mosques or in the Al-Aqsa mosque in order to put pressure on Israel to remove any new security measures since the July 14 shooting.
The Hamas terror group also called for a “day of rage” for the second consecutive Friday following the attack, though it also portrayed the removal of the detectors as a victory over Israel.
Abbas stressed 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” the July 14 attack.
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.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.