Palestinians have entered Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first time in just under two weeks, after Israel removed surveillance equipment and other obstacles from the gates leading to the holy site.

Thousands of men, women and children made their way on Thursday to the compound, where the call to prayer sounded from al-Aqsa Mosque again.

Raed Saleh, a resident of occupied East Jerusalem, said that this was a victory for Palestinians.

We never saw this kind of win for our people,” he told Al Jazeera. “People are coming from everywhere just to support us in this occasion.”

“The Israeli government will now understand that Palestinians from Jerusalem will not accept everything they [Israelis] will tell them. We control ourselves, no one is controlling us.”

The metal detectors were removed overnight by Israeli authorities.

Newly installed railings and scaffolding where cameras were previously mounted were also cleared early on Thursday, after which Israeli police declared that all new security measures had been removed.

Palestinians had gathered at al-Aqsa on Thursday after officials from the Islamic Waqf authority, which administers al-Aqsa Mosque compound, gave the go-ahead to return to performing prayers there.

However, one of the gates, Bab Hutta, remained closed by Israeli forces and Palestinians refused to enter until security measures were removed from all of the gates.

Israeli security forces followed the worshippers in from the Bab Hutta gate and fired stun grenades, sound bombs and tear gas. According to the Red Crescent, 37 people were injured as a result.

For 13 days Palestinians have protested night and day, refusingl to pray inside the compound after Israel installed metal detectors at its entrances.

They held prayers in the streets and just outside the gates to the Old City.

Palestinians viewed the installation of the equipment as Israel asserting further control.

The new regulations came after an attack on July 14 was carried out by three Palestinian citizens of Israel, who killed two Israeli policemen in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The three men were then chased inside the compound before they were shot and killed.

Interactive – Al Aqsa Mosque [Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/muslims-return-worship-jerusalem-al-aqsa-mosque-170727141342896.html