Friday, August 04, 2006

just when you need a provocation...Police brace for clashes in Jerusalem over shrine visit

Yahoo! News
Police brace for clashes in Jerusalem over shrine visit

Wed Aug 2, 2:53 PM ET

Israeli Police were bracing for clashes in Jerusalem between Palestinians and Jewish extremists who want to enter Islam's third holiest shrine, the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

On Tuesday, Israel's high court had authorised a request by far-right Jewish activists to enter the compound, which is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

The small Temple Mount Faithful group had asked for the go-ahead to visit the compound, where according to Jewish tradition Herod's Temple once stood, on Thursday to mark the Jewish day of mourning for its destruction in 70 BC.

According to police sources, "thousands of Palestinians have been called to protect Temple Mount on Thursday against radical Jewish groups."

Police plan to restrict entry to the compound on Thursday to women and men over the age of 45, they said in a statement.

Large police forces are set to deploy across Jerusalem's Old City on Thursday morning, and will bar the entry of certain extremists, the police sources said.

The Al-Aqsa compound, and the adjacent Western Wall, the only remains of the Jewish Temple, have been the site of many violent clashes between Jews and Palestinians in the past.

A similar court decision in July 2001 sparked clashes in Jerusalem in which 15 Israeli policemen and 18 Palestinians were wounded.

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