Middle East

Palestinian women protest Al-Aqsa restrictions

The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background as Israeli policemen stand guard before Palestinian men begin to pray in the Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud May 30, 2014. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Scores of Palestinian women staged on Monday a sit-in at the western gate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.

They were protesting Israeli police demand that they hand over their ID cards until they finished performing their prayers inside the mosque and come out.

Since Sunday, Israeli police have kept the identity cards of several Palestinian women.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, complained of new Israeli restrictions at the entrances of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"Israeli police are asking women to hand over their identity cards and have held onto several IDs since yesterday," he told Anadolu Agency.

By preventing Muslims from entering the mosque or restricting their entry, al-Khatib warned, Israel risked triggering clashes.

He went on to hold Israeli police entirely responsible for any violence resulting from the new restrictions.

Al-Khatib described the latest developments as "extremely dangerous."

For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa Mosque represents the world's third holiest site.

Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War.

It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.





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