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Israeli forces bar Palestinian women from Aqsa compound

Aug. 31, 2014 2:48 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2014 1:26 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday morning denied Muslim women entry into al-Aqsa Mosque compound while allowing Israeli Jews entry.

Palestinian security guards at the compound told Ma'an that Israeli police officers erected checkpoints at all gates of the holy compound and that starting at 7 a.m. all women were denied entry.

Men were allowed to enter the compound after inspection, meanwhile, although some were asked to leave their identity cards at the checkpoints.

On the other hand, more than 30 Israeli Jews entered the compound through the Moroccan gate and toured the holy place heavily escorted by police officers.

Muslim women gathered near the main gates and shouted slogans in protest against the Israeli restrictions against them.

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 and is sometimes referred to as the "Temple Mount," 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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