Israeli police deny Palestinian children entry to Al-Aqsa for settler visit

Published July 30th, 2015 - 12:45 GMT
Israeli forces prevented Palestinian children from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday morning while right-wing Israelis were visiting the site, witnesses said.
 
Israeli forces allegedly blocked entry to the group of children with metal police barricades near the Lions Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.
 
The children were visiting the mosque compound during a summer camp activity, witnesses added.
 
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
 
The Al-Aqsa compound has witnessed several clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians since Sunday, when Israeli forces escorted right-wing Israelis marking a Jewish holiday.
 
Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were injured in the process, some with rubber coated steel bullets. Four Israeli police officers were also injured, according to Israeli media reports.
 
On Monday, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the area erupted again, leading to eight arrests and several light injuries.

On Wednesday, Israeli activist Yehuda Glick entered the compound to perform religious rituals along with 63 other rightists, again under police escort.

Jewish organizations have been calling for the opening of the Al-Aqsa compound for Jewish worshipers for the week after the Tisha B'Av fast day, which commemorates the destruction of First and Second Jewish Temples. The area is the holiest place in Judaism.

Israel agreed in 1967 -- the beginning of its occupation of East Jerusalem -- not to allow non-Muslim prayer in Al-Aqsa. However, Israeli forces frequently allow Jewish visitors to enter the area under armed guard.

At the end of June, International Crisis Group reported that Israel and the Islamic Endowment, in control of the mosque compound, were discussing the possibility of allowing non-Muslim worship at the site. The move has not been confirmed.

Earlier this week, the United Nations condemned "religious provocations" in and around holy sites in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.

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