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Israel continues to bar Muslims from al-Aqsa

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  • ummyakoub
    Israel continues to bar Muslims from al-Aqsa By Faisal Bodi - Al Jazeera and Agencies (Oct 31, 2003)
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2003
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      Israel continues to bar Muslims from al-Aqsa

      By Faisal Bodi - Al Jazeera and Agencies (Oct 31, 2003)

      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/97A3104A-909D-48A3-A439-
      E26EF0BB88BF.htm

      Israeli police and soldiers have continued to restrict worshippers
      access to
      Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound for the first Friday of the
      Muslim holy
      month of Ramadan.

      Only married men over 45 and married women over 35 will be allowed to
      enter the
      compound, the third holiest site in Islam, the police said.

      The number of special permits granted to Palestinian worshippers from
      the Gaza
      Strip and the rest of the West Bank was also limited to 5,000.

      Israeli police said it was because they feared resistance attacks but
      Palestinians view the closure as a direct attack on the Friday
      Prayer, which
      together with the other daily obligatory prayers, forms one of
      Islam's five
      pillars.

      "Since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada the Israelis have
      tightened the
      closure. Right now it's very difficult for Palestinians to enter
      Jerusalem,"
      said Khalid Amayreh, Aljazeera's correspondent in the West Bank.

      ""It has been like this for the last 13 years. Prior to the Intifada
      Palestinians were by and large able to break closures but right now
      it has
      become extremely difficult."

      Those caught trying to cross illegally face being arrested and held
      for up to
      six months under Israel's notorious "administrative detention"
      provisions.

      The status of the holy Islamic compound, coveted by many Jews, lies
      at the heart
      of the Middle East conflict.

      The inflammatory visit of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to the
      site in
      September 2000, seen by Palestinians as an attempt to underline
      Jewish claims to
      the sanctuary, triggered the current Intifada or uprising.

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