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Israel imposes restriction on Al-Aqsa for Jewish holiday

Aug. 1, 2014 3:31 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2014 10:28 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli police imposed restrictions Thursday on Palestinian worshipers entering Al-Aqsa mosque compound in order to secure the way for Jewish visitors in the Old City for the "Tisha B'Av" Jewish Holiday.

Tisha B'Av is holiday when Jews mark the destruction of two historic Temples, believed to have been located on the site of what is not the Al-Aqsa compound.

A Ma'an reporter said that the Israeli police shut all the gates of Al-Aqsa early Thursday, except for the Hatta Gate, the Council Gate. and the Chain Gate, and that they put rail barriers on open gates and prevented women of all ages and men under 50 from entering.

More than 50 right-wing Jews entered through the Moroccan Gate into the compounds, "touring, challenging and provoking Muslims."

Israeli forces were deployed in the Al-Aqsa compound "to secure the settlers' tour inside."

Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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