World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel on Friday imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshippers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem for the third consecutive day.
Israeli police stepped up security around the mosque, deploying 2,000 troops in Jerusalem and erected roadblocks at entrances to Jerusalem's Old City.
"Police prevent men under 50 and West Bankers from entering Al-Aqsa compound or Friday prayers," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, told Anadolu Agency.
Jews celebrated the start of "Rosh Hashanah" (Jewish New Year) on Wednesday evening, the first day of new Jewish year of 5775.
Israel typically imposes restrictions on Muslim worshippers' access to Al-Aqsa on the first days of the Jewish New Year.
According to the Jewish faith, the day marks the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first steps toward the realization of mankind's role in God's world.
Al-Khatib said that while Israel restricts the entry of Palestinians into Al-Aqsa mosque compound, it facilitates the entry of Jewish settlers into the holy site.
He said that at least 300 Jewish settlers and 120 Israeli soldiers had forced their way into the holy compound in the past three days.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers – often accompanied by Israeli security forces – have repeatedly forced their way into East Jerusalem's flashpoint 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, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem 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 – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli leader Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada" – a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.Last Mod: 26 Eylül 2014, 10:18