Israel restricts entry to Aqsa Mosque compound
By Abdel-Raouf Arnaout, Monday, May 05, 2014
AL-QUDS – Israeli police imposed restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshippers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) on Monday on the eve of threats by Jewish groups to storm the holy site, a Palestinian official said.
"Israeli police closed off a number of mosque gates and denied people under 50 access into the site," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, said.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage has earlier warned that Jewish settler groups have threatened to stage a massive march on Tuesday to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
According to the foundation, marchers plan to call on the Israeli government to give Jews the right to enter the holy site to perform prayers.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have stepped up their intrusions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, the world's third holiest site for Muslims.
The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by late Israeli leader 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 and injured.
Israel occupied the Palestinian city of Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the new self-proclaimed Jewish state.
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