World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli authorities closed the Aqsa Mosque compound to Jewish settlers on Tuesday, citing security concerns.
Israeli police spokesperson Luba Samri told the Anadolu Agency that the holy site, known as the "Temple Mount" to Jews, would be closed to foreigners and non-Muslims following intelligence reports of a plan to "disturb the peace" at the site.
She provided no further details.
According to an AA correspondent at the scene, Israeli police shut the Magharba Gate -- which leads to the Al-Buraq Wall, known to Jews as the "Western Wall" -- and prevented Jewish settlers from entering the compound.
Several Jewish organizations had called on followers to enter the compound on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which this year runs from September 18 to 25.
In response, several Palestinian factions said they would stage massive demonstrations to defend the holy site against perceived violations by settlers.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities arrested Mahmoud Abo Atta, media coordinator for the Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, inside the Aqsa Mosque complex.
The foundation, devoted to protecting Al-Aqsa's Arab and Islamic identity, denounced Abo Atta's arrest, accusing Israeli authorities of trying to silence all voices that reveal their violations against the holy site.
Groups of Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, enter the Aqsa Mosque complex -- considered Islam's third holiest site -- on an almost a daily basis.
The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to clashes.
Jews refer to Al-Aqsa as the "Temple Mount", claiming the area was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2013, 13:23