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Israel to keep Jerusalem prayers age bar lifted

Nov. 21, 2014 11:12 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 23, 2014 12:47 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli police said they do not plan to bar young Muslim worshippers from Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, despite a week of spiralling violence in the city.

It would be the second week running that the restrictions were lifted at the flashpoint mosque compound in annexed East Jerusalem after months of limited entry.

"So far, restrictions on entry of worshippers will not be imposed," Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement late Thursday.

She said the situation would be kept under review overnight in case a change became necessary.

Israel eased restrictions at the mosque last week after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced agreement on steps to reduce tensions in talks in neighbouring Jordan, which has custodial rights at the compound.

The site, which is holy to Jews as well as Muslims, has been the focus of months of unrest in East Jerusalem as far-right Israeli groups have sought to advance claims to sovereignty over the site and Israeli police have severely limited Palestinian access.

In recent weeks, police have tried to preempt unrest by limiting male entry to those over 35 and in the past have barred those under 50.

Dozens injured in East Jerusalem clashes

Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces late Thursday in Jabal al-Mukabbir as border police raided a mourning tent set up for Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, who were shot dead after attacking a synagogue and killing five Israelis.

Israeli forces fired stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inside the tent and detained Ibrahim Ismail al-Qanbar, 25.

Five youths were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.

In Abu Dis, seven youths were shot in their lower extremities while 30 were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes in the town, a local popular committee said.
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