Israeli forces deny Palestinians entry to al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli forces deployed at all gates to the compound and denied Muslims entry to the site, witnesses said Tuesday. (AFP/File)
Israeli forces deployed heavily at all gates to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City Tuesday morning and denied Palestinian worshipers entry to the holy site, witnesses said.
Israeli police officer denied entry to all Palestinian men and women, in addition to children taking part in a summer camp, witnesses said.
Only employees of the Islamic Endowment were allowed in after Israeli police checked their identification.
Meanwhile, right-wing Israelis were allowed to tour the compound under the protection of Israeli police officers.
Tensions have risen sharply at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in recent weeks, with near-daily clashes as right-wing Jewish organizations call on their members to tour the site.
The third holiest site in Islam, the mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
Following Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained an agreement with the Islamic Endowment that controls the al-Aqsa compound not to allow non-Muslim prayer in the area.
Jewish prayer is allowed at the neighboring Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Second Temple.
However, Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to al-Aqsa, leading to anger among Muslim worshipers.