Temple Mount Attackers' Parents Petition Israeli High Court for Return of Sons' Bodies

As the parents demand autopsies on sons' bodies, tensions rise in Jerusalem over anticipated clashes during Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinian Muslim worshippers prevented from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque pray outside Jerusalem's Old City, Friday, July 14, 2017.
Mahmoud Illean / AP

The parents of the three attackers who carried out last week's deadly assault at the Temple Mount petitioned to the High Court of Justice on Thursday for the return of their sons' bodies by Israeli police. The court plans to discuss their petition on Sunday.

The parents demand their son's bodies be analyzed to determine circumstances of their deaths.

"The holding of the bodies and their immediate non-delivery is carried out without authority, since there is no provision in the law allowing the Israel Police to hold the bodies," wrote attorney Mohammed Bassam of Adalah, an Israeli civil rights organization. "The conduct of the Israel Police constitutes a flagrant violation of the constitutional rights of the deceased and their families."

Meanwhile, tensions mount in Jerusalem over anticipated discord during Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. After the attack last Friday, which left dead police officers Hael Sathawi and Kamil Shanan, police closed the Temple Mount to Muslims and canceled Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On Sunday, the police decided to open the compound once again, but insisted that the Muslim worshippers pass through metal detectors stationed at the entrances. This decision prompted clashes with those arriving at the site, who saw the placement of metal detectors as a change to the status quo.

On Wednesday night, the mufti of Jerusalem and the heads of the Waqf religious trust called on all imams in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas to not hold Friday prayers in their mosques but to come to Al-Aqsa for prayer instead. 

Prayers that usually occur at Al-Aqsa mosque will be held at Lions Gate instead, as worshippers refuse to pass through the metal detectors placed at the entrance to the Temple Mount. Israeli security forces are on high alert in the event that Netanyahu's government decides not remove the metal detectors in response to Palestinian, Jordanian, and U.S. pressure. Netanyahu is expected to make a decision on the matter  on Thursday. The army and police are preparing for confrontations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine all called on all Palestinians to attend prayers tomorrow at the Temple Mount. A Palestinian activist said that thousands of worshippers from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli cities have already made their way to the Old City, where they plan on spending the night, concerned that the police may block access to the city on Friday.