Unrestricted Access to Temple Mount to Continue

Israeli police indicate they do not plan to bar young Muslim worshippers from Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque.

Ben Ariel,

Arab rioters on the Temple Mount (archive)
Arab rioters on the Temple Mount (archive)
Flash 90

For the second week in a row, Israeli police said on Thursday evening they do not plan to bar young Muslim worshippers from Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque.

"So far, restrictions on entry of worshippers will not be imposed," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement quoted by AFP late Thursday.

She said the situation would be kept under review during the night in case a change became necessary.

The restrictions were lifted for the first time last Friday, after weeks in which Muslim men under 35 were not permitted to enter the compound due to tensions and intelligence information about planned riots.

The restrictions were lifted following a meeting in Amman between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Following the meeting, Kerry said that steps were agreed to lower tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The decision to leave last week’s directive in place was made despite the fact the earlier on Thursday, Israeli police seized a massive shipment of firecrackers, swords, tasers and other weapons at the Ashdod port, a potentially deadly arsenal which was set to be delivered to Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Two containers intercepted by authorities at the southern port were packed with 18,000 fireworks, 5,200 commando knives, 5,500 tasers, 4,300 tasers concealed in flashlights, 1,000 swords and several thousand other "cold" weapons.

The lethal cargo was hidden under a layer of Christmas decorations, and had been shipped in all the way from China.

 Fireworks in particular have become a weapon of choice among Arab rioters in Jerusalem, prompting a controversial decision to temporarily ban the importation of certain types of fireworks.




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