The last few days have been marked by violent demonstrations in the area, riot police clashing with protesters throwing rocks and debris. Palestinian health officials say three demonstrators were shot dead by Israeli security, a charge police say they're investigating. The protests have centered on the recent installation of new metal detectors at one of the most important holy sites in Jerusalem known as the Temple Mount De Judaism and Noble Sanctuary in Islam.
Jews and Muslims have separate entrances to the compound and for decades, the Jewish entrance had metal detectors for the general public, while the Muslim entrance did not. Muslim religious authorities contending that the gates restrict free movement for worshipers and could be used by Israelis to take full control of the area.
But that delicate status quo ended a week ago when two Israeli police in the vicinity were shot to death by gunmen firing from inside the compound, Israeli authorities mandating the detectors at all entrances in response. Now, signs the violence from the protests may be spilling over. Three Israelis were stabbed to death while eating dinner at a West Bank settlement on Friday, the suspect shot and in custody along with his brother.
And, another Palestinian was killed in a separate incident when Israeli authorities say an explosive he was assembling went off prematurely. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until those metal detectors are removed. His Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, says they're here to stay although their use may be scaled back as alternative security measures are employed.