Israel restricts access to Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem



JERUSALEM- Israeli police said on Saturday access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem -- Islam's third holiest site -- would be restricted on Sunday to men under 50 amid fears of fresh violence there.
"Because of information that Palestinians may cause trouble, the police have decided to restrict access on Sunday for those wanting to pray at Al-Aqsa to men under the age of 50," Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.



Israeli police stand guard as Palestinian Muslims perform Friday prayer outside Jerusalem's Old City
Israeli police stand guard as Palestinian Muslims perform Friday prayer outside Jerusalem's Old City
Muslim women will not be affected, Rosenfeld said, adding however that "visitors from other religions will be barred from entering" the compound.
Police had barred men under 50 from praying at the site on Friday, the weekly day of rest for Muslims.
Restrictions have been enforced since March 5 when police battled Muslim protesters at the Al-Aqsa mosque after weekly prayers.
The compound housing Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock is Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Jews call the site Temple Mount and consider it to be Judaism's holiest site.
Jerusalem police said they intervened on March 5 when Palestinians hurled stones over a wall dividing the mosque enclosure from a neighbouring Jewish site.
Tensions have spiralled following Israel's announcement on Tuesday that it will build 1,600 new homes for Jewish settlers in mostly Arab east Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider to be the capital of their future state.
Police reinforcements deployed around east Jerusalem amid the tensions in the city will remain in place, Rosenfeld said.
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Saturday, March 13th 2010
AFP
           


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