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Israel prevents women from entering Aqsa, arrests 2 Palestinians

Aug. 13, 2014 9:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 15, 2014 2:48 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Wednesday prevented all Palestinian women from entering the holy Al-Aqsa compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, and arrested two Palestinians in ensuing clashes.

Israeli forces closed all but three of the gates to the compound by setting up barriers and seizing the identity cards of Palestinians who tried to enter.

The ban continued until 2:30 p.m in order in order to allow Israeli Jews and tourists to enter the compound.

Students at religious schools in the compound said that Israeli police assaulted them with pepper spray and batons near the chain gate, and arrested one student at the Council Gate.

Over 40 Israeli Jewish worshipers entered the compound escorted by police. Israeli forces also arrested a Palestinian at the Chain Gate.

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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