Israel scraps controversial metal detectors


Israel has removed controversial metal detectors at the entrance to a holy site in an attempt to defuse violent protests.

Security forces removed the devices from a compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and Jews as Temple Mount during a pre-dawn operation ordered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The metal detectors were installed after Arab gunmen killed two policemen from inside the shrine earlier this month.

The move incensed the Muslim world and triggered some of the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians for years, with seven people killed over the weekend.

Following a second day of talks, Israel’s security cabinet voted to scrap the walk-through gates and replace them with less obtrusive surveillance.

Local media reported that high-resolution cameras capable of detecting hidden objects would be deployed.

Israel announced: “The security cabinet accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (smart checks) and other measures instead of metal detectors.”

It said the measure would “ensure the security of visitors and worshippers”.

The 37-acre walled compound is the third holiest site of Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had said he would halt security ties with Israel until the gates were removed.