Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gives a speech during a meeting of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 21, 2017.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gives a speech during a meeting of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 21, 2017.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said on Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel over the imposition of new restrictions at the Al Aqsa Mosque complex, a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site, after deadly clashes erupted earlier in the day.

At least six people, three Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed as a result of the clashes caused by the restrictions on the compound.

Abbas said in a speech that the freeze would stay in place until Israel lifted the restrictions at the Haram al Sharif mosque compound, which Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.

Israeli authorities announced that the measures would remain in place.

TRT World's Muhannad Alami reports from Ramallah.

The Haram al Sharif or Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It lies in east Jerusalem, seized by Israel in the 1967 six-day war and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. It is considered the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

"I, on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, announce... a freeze of all contacts with the occupation state on all levels until Israel commits to cancelling all the restrictions against our Palestinian people in general and Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque in particular," Abbas said to applause from Palestinian officials.

Abbas called the restrictions "falsely presented as a security measure to take control over Al Aqsa Mosque".

His speech came after three Palestinians were killed and several hundred wounded on Friday in clashes between protesters and Israeli forces over the new restrictions at the holy site.

Worst bloodshed in years

Friday's unrest came after Israeli ministers decided not to order the removal of metal detectors erected at entrances to the Haram al Sharif mosque compound, following an attack nearby a week ago that killed two policemen.

On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to press for the removal of the metal detectors. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East, appealed for calm and the White House called for a resolution. Jordan, the custodian of the holy site, has also been involved in mediation efforts.

Despite international pressure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet said the detectors were needed to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.

It was unclear if the move would apply to the quiet security coordination that exists between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, widely seen as having helped prevent a wider outbreak of violence in recent years.

TRT World spoke with Raji Sourani, Head of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza who talked about the humanitarian aspect of the violence in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Mohammed Sharaf, 17, and Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghannam, age unknown, died of gunshot wounds in two neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem somewhat away from the epicentre of tension in the walled Old City. It reported a third Palestinian fatality, Mohammed Lafi, 18, later.

Hours later, an Israeli man and his two children were stabbed to death in their home as they were having dinner. The attacker reportedly jumped over the fence to get into the settlement of Hala-mish. A fourth person, a woman, is critically wounded. It

Israeli security forces on Saturday raided the home of a Palestinian suspected of stabbing the three Israelis to death, and arrested his brother.

The movement of Palestinians from his West Bank village was also restricted the military said.

Peace efforts at standstill

The two sides have a range of contacts on various other issues, with recent deals announced related to water and electricity.

Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have however been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in 2014, though US President Donald Trump has been seeking ways to restart talks..

In anticipation of protests on Friday, Israeli police barred men under 50 from entering the Old City in annexed east Jerusalem for prayers, while all women were allowed in.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies