Israeli police bar Muslim young men from entering holy area

Only men over the age of 50 and women are allowed in

Palestinians praying at al-Aqsa
Palestinians praying at al-Aqsa

Israeli police have admitted to banning Muslim men under the age of 50 at the al-Aqsa compound, in an announcement made hours ahead of mass protests.

The al-Aqsa Mosque is Israel’s third holiest shrine, after Mecca and Medina, as well as the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

Muslim devotees refer to the area of al-Asqa Mosque as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, whereas Jewish believers refer to the place of worship as Temple Mount.

Tensions have been rising in the area.  Only yesterday, three Palestinians opened fire on Israeli police officers, killing two before they were shot dead themselves.

Fresh demonstrations have been planned over new security measures at the occupied holy site in East Jerusalem, a week after deadly shootouts in the area triggered political strains.

“Entry to the Old City and Temple Mount will be limited to men aged 50 and over. Women of all ages will be permitted”, a police statement to Al Jazeera said.

Israeli’s security cabinet admitted that Israeli police would decide when to remove metal detectors and turnstiles at the compound last week.  Palestinians have rebutted, saying that the measure is an infringement of the status quo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received recommendations from different areas of Israel’s security services last Thursday.

Israels’ internal security service, Shin Bet, said the barriers need to be removed, while Jerusalem police insisted they stay.

10 Palestinian activists have been detained in Jerusalem, according to the Associated Press.

Jerusalem’s leader of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, Hatem Abdel Khadar, was among those arrested.

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