Israel to limit access to Aqsa mosque
Published Friday 28/02/2014 (updated) 01/03/2014 10:52
Israeli security forces stand guard at an alleyway leading to
the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on February 25, 2014 in the
Old City of Jerusalem.(AFP/File Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli police said they will limit access for Muslim men to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound during Friday prayers to prevent possible clashes following services.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said on Thursday that men under the age of 50 will be barred from Friday prayers, based on intelligence of plans for unrest, with security forces bolstering their presence in the area.
The decision comes after police clashed with Palestinians at the compound on Tuesday, hours ahead of a debate in the Israeli parliament over a plan to place the holy site under full Israeli jurisdiction.
The discussion, which did not result in a vote or any practical measures, sparked anger in the region, with the parliament of Jordan -- the custodian of the site -- voting to expel Israel's envoy and its premier warning Amman might review its peace treaty with Israel.
And the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday condemned the debate as a "dangerous escalation," calling it part of Israel's goal to "Judaize Jerusalem."
The flashpoint compound sits above the Western Wall plaza and houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque, and is Islam's third-holiest site.
It is also Judaism's holiest place and considered the site of two Jewish temples.