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Palestinian groups decry Israel assaults on worshippers

15 March 2019

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Police said they found a number of firecrackers and Molotov cocktails in searches of the site.

The incident further heightened tensions at the flashpoint site, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and gold-topped Dome of the Rock.

Israeli security forces on Tuesday, March 12, clashed with Muslims at the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem's Old City, after a firebomb was thrown at police.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian Territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967, they are denied their citizenship rights and are instead classified only as "residents" whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

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She added, to some cheers from her backbenchers: "I may not have my own voice, but I do understand the voice of the country". This means doing what the prime minister failed to do two years ago: "search for a consensus on the way forward".

Worshippers later prayed outside the locked gates of the site in protest.

Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Abdul Nasser Abul Bassal on Wednesday said that Israel's closure of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif is unacceptable and a blatant attack on religious freedoms.

In another statement hours after the conclusion of the search, Yadid announced that the Temple Mount would be opened Wednesday morning, some 24 hours after the incident, for worshipers and visitors.

The compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and a focus of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

Jews are allowed to visit but can not pray there and it is a frequent scene of tension.

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He pointed out that the Jordan holds the Israeli government, as the occupying power, fully responsible for the events that took place at Al Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinian worshippers have been entering the site despite an Israeli order that it should stay closed.

The area inside the Gate of Mercy was sealed off by Israeli authorities in 2003, and it has been kept closed to stop illegal construction work there by the Islamic Waqf, the organization that administer the Temple Mount. Last week, Israeli officials traveled to Jordan for meetings, and Jordanian officials have also visited Jerusalem according to Israeli reports.

There are concerns in Israel that tensions at the site could boil over and become a political issue ahead of April 9 Israeli elections.

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Palestinian groups decry Israel assaults on worshippers