Ahead of Jewish festival, Israel implements new restrictions for Al-Aqsa mosque
Palestinians demonstrate in front of the Dome of the Rock after clashes between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli forces at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, one of Islam's holiest sites, on September 27, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Israeli police on Sunday imposed severe entry restrictions on Palestinians to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of an eight-day Jewish festival.
Israeli police prevented all Palestinian men under 50 from accessing the site while holding the IDs of those men that were allowed to enter. There were no age restrictions on Palestinian women.
Witnesses said that large numbers of Palestinian men performed evening prayers outside the mosque compound's gates after they were prevented from entering.
Earlier Sunday saw clashes across the compound after Israeli police stormed the holy site and fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian protesters.
During the four-day Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday that ended Sunday, non-Muslims were prevented from accessing the compound, while age restrictions on Palestinians were lifted.
However, tensions rose sharply ahead of the eight-day Jewish Sukkut festival, which began Sunday evening and is expected to see large numbers of Jews visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Palestinian protesters on Sunday were reportedly preparing "to defend" the compound during the festival, stocking stones inside the southern mosque and planning to sleep in it.
Earlier this month, the holy site was rocked by three days of fierce clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police, as police stormed the compound to clear the way for Jews seeking to celebrate the Jewish new year holiday.
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