Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem - REUTERS
GAZA - 30 July 2017: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that his decision to remove security measures around Al Aqsa mosque was difficult.
During his statement at the opening of the Israeli cabinet's meeting, Netanyahu defended his decision saying: "I am in tune with the emotions of wider society, I understand the feelings, I know that the decision that we made [to remove the security measures] was a difficult one," according to Israeli Jerusalem Post newspaper.
Netanyahu's statements come two weeks after tensions and protests sparked due to the Israeli security measures around Al Aqsa mosque.
Netanyahu also stated: "As prime minister of Israel, as the one who carries the security of Israel on his shoulders, it is my duty to make decisions calmly and in an informed manner."
He added: "I make these decisions while looking at the wider picture, with a broad view of the challenges and threats that we are facing, some of which the wider public are not aware of and which I cannot detail."
Netanyahu was also quoted as saying: "I understand public feeling, I also understand the duty of leadership, of what it is to sit in this chair and carry on my shoulders the ultimate responsibility for Israel's security, and I am acting accordingly."
Worshipers had returned to pray at Al Aqsa mosque Thursday after Israel removed metal detectors from its entrances.