Police impose fresh restrictions on Muslims at Temple Mount
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Police impose fresh restrictions on Muslims at Temple Mount

Women of all ages but only men over 50 will be allowed to attend Friday prayers as Jerusalem is hit by ongoing violence

A policeman stands guard as Palestinian men, who were prevented from entering the Temple Mount compound to attend Friday prayers, pray at the Lions Gate of Jerusalem's Old City, October 2, 2015. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
A policeman stands guard as Palestinian men, who were prevented from entering the Temple Mount compound to attend Friday prayers, pray at the Lions Gate of Jerusalem's Old City, October 2, 2015. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

Male Muslim worshipers will face restricted access to the Temple Mount during Friday prayers as part of an overall tightening of security measures in the Old City, police said on Thursday.

Women of all ages will be permitted to enter the Temple Mount, but access for men will be limited to the over-50s. The mount has become a flashpoint for violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in recent weeks. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, the compound is the traditional site of the ancient Jewish Temples and houses the al-Aqsa Mosque; it is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest for Muslims.

At times of high tension, Jerusalem police have previously placed age limitations on Muslim worshipers attending Friday prayers at the Temple Mount, blocking entry to younger men who are considered more likely to riot.

Those who are unable to enter the compound often gather to pray in areas outside instead.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also banned Arab and Jewish lawmakers from visiting the Temple Mount in a bid to help calm the ongoing tensions, which have been punctuated by multiple deadly terror attacks by Palestinians in recent days and clashes in the West Bank.

On Thursday, seven Israelis were injured in four stabbing attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Afula, and the West Bank town of Hebron.

Many Palestinians believe Israel is trying to expand Jewish presence at the site, a claim Israel strenuously denies. Under a long-standing arrangement between Israel and the Islamic authorities who administer the site, Jews are allowed to visit during certain hours but not pray there.

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