Muslims told to return to Jerusalem shrine

Israel has removed the last remaining security items at a contested Jerusalem holy site.

Muslim leaders have told the faithful to return to pray inside a major Jerusalem holy site after Israel removed all the security devices it had installed following a deadly Palestinian attack at the compound.

Thousands of Palestinians had been praying in the streets outside the al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City to protest against the security measures since the crisis began.

"After extensive discussion and after achieving this victory in this round we call on our people in Jerusalem and inside (Israel) and anyone who can access the al-Aqsa Mosque to enter ... en masse," the Islamic leaders said in a statement.

The head of the Supreme Islamic Committee, Ikrema Sabri, said the first prayers would be held there on Thursday afternoon.

Israel installed the security measures after Palestinian gunmen shot and killed two police officers from within the site on July 14.

It said the security measures were necessary to prevent more attacks and were standard procedure to ensure safety at sites around the world.

Palestinians claimed Israel was trying to expand its control over the site.

The issue sparked street clashes and threatened to draw Israel into conflict with other Arab and Muslim nations.

Palestinians danced, chanted "God is Great" and set off fireworks after some security devices were removed early Thursday morning.

It dismantled metal detectors there earlier this week.

Israel removed the devices under intense pressure and said it planned to install sophisticated security cameras instead.

But Palestinian politicians and Muslim clerics had insisted that was not enough and demanded Israel restore the situation at the shrine to what it was before the attack.

The stand-off at the holy site - known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount - has provoked some of the worst bloodshed in Jerusalem for years.

Israeli forces have killed four Palestinians in fighting in the cramped streets of East Jerusalem in the past week and a Palestinian stabbed three Israelis to death in their home.