Israeli clampdown at shrine brings continued tensions - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Israeli clampdown at shrine brings continued tensions

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Tensions haven't eased in Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians knelt today on prayer carpets in the street. They were faced by a cordon of Israeli riot police, who blocked them from reaching Islam's third-holiest shrine in the nearby Old City.

   Israel says restricting access to the shrine -- which is also revered by Jews -- is necessary to clamp down on growing unrest in the city. Muslims under 35 were denied entry today.

   The Palestinians in the streets eventually dispersed peacefully. But the scene highlighted the escalating tensions over a site the Jews know as the Temple Mount, while Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary.

   Jerusalem's Muslims, who make up about a third of the population, say the security clampdown only heightens fears that their traditional control of the holy site is under threat from Jewish zealots.

   In recent weeks, senior members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition have called for a greater Jewish presence and right to prayer on the mount. Under an arrangement in place since Israel's capture of the Old City and its shrines in 1967, the sacred plateau is administered by Muslims reporting to Jordan, while Jews have a right to visit.
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