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Jerusalem police restrict Temple Mount entry

Fearing riots on final day of Obama visit, security forces limit access Friday to men over 50 with Israeli ID cards, and all women

Jerusalem’s police force announced late Thursday that access to the Temple Mount would be restricted on Friday, due to intelligence on planned disturbances at the Muslim and Jewish holy site.

Men aged 50 and over bearing Israeli ID cards, and women of all ages, will be permitted entry to the Jerusalem site. Security forces will be deployed in East Jerusalem and the area surrounding the Temple Mount to maintain order.

Police are also concerned about the danger of violence during US President Barack Obama’s remaining day in Israel. The US leader is set to leave Israel for neighboring Jordan on Friday afternoon.

Earlier this month, riots erupted in the Temple Mount compound after Friday prayers for two successive weeks. Worshipers emerged from prayers to throw rocks at security forces near the entrance to the compound.

Rioters also threw two Molotov cocktails at officers from inside the al-Aqsa Mosque, in what Jerusalem police chief Yossi Pariente said was “a new level of escalation.” Both petrol bombs exploded, and one of them set fire to the foot of an Israeli policeman, who quickly put out the blaze without serious injury.

The contested site, where the al-Aqsa Mosque compound is built above the ruins of the biblical Jewish Temple, is one of the most volatile in the region.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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