World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli authorities on Tuesday closed a number of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound gates and prevented Palestinian worshippers under the age of 50 from entering, a Palestinian official said.
"The Israeli police suddenly closed some of the 14 gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of Muslim endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), told Anadolu Agency.
The move came as several Jewish extremist groups urged followers to storm the holy site, he said.
According to al-Khatib, the Israeli police also imposed restrictions on the entry of women to the holy compound.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, based in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, said Israeli forces had blocked hundreds of Palestinian religious students from entering the holy site and only allowed a handful of them in.
At least two students who had snuck into the compound were later detained, it added.
Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers – often accompanied by Israeli security forces – have repeatedly entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex. The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied Al-Quds during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.Last Mod: 11 Mart 2014, 11:07