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Israel imposes restrictions around Aqsa compound

Sept. 26, 2014 10:39 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2014 10:19 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, locals and police said.

Men under 50 and Palestinians from the West Bank were prohibited from entering the holy site, locals said, while women of all ages were granted access.

Israeli police said in a statement that the closures were imposed after receiving reports of planned demonstrations after Friday prayers.

Palestinian Muslims were banned from entering the holy site on Tuesday morning at dawn ahead of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which celebrates the Jewish New Year.

Worshipers were eventually allowed access on Wednesday, but clashes later that day with Israeli forces left 15 Palestinians injured by rubber bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades.

Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, however, 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 above the site where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

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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