Israel restricts access to Al-Aqsa Mosque
"Israeli police have banned men under 35 from entering the compound," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, a Palestinian NGO, told AA
Israeli police imposed fresh restrictions on access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Friday, amid rising tension in the holy city.
"Israeli police have banned men under 35 from entering the compound," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, a Palestinian NGO, told Anadolu Agency.
He said that women from all ages were, however, allowed into the holy site.
Israeli police were seen deployed in East Jerusalem since early morning with roadblocks erected at all entrances to the Old City.
Tension has been running high in East Jerusalem since Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound last week following the shooting of an extremist rabbi in west Jerusalem.
The closure of Al-Aqsa, along with the killing of a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi, fueled angry protests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, an Israeli police officer was killed when a Palestinian driver ran over a group of Israeli pedestrians in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian motorist who ran them over, meanwhile, was shot and killed by Israeli police in the immediate wake of the attack.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Last Modified: 2014-11-07 09:11:57
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