Temple Mount
Temple MountFlash 90

Jordan on Sunday accused Israeli authorities of barring top Palestinian Muslim officials from Al-Aqsa mosque in the Israeli capital city of Jerusalem.

Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab, head of the Waqf religious authority that runs the site in the Israeli capital, has been barred for 40 days and his deputy for four months, after Israel accused the Waqf of inciting Muslim rioters on the Temple Mount.

In recent weeks, Arab Muslims have demanded the reopening of the Golden Gate, also known as the Gate of Mercy - a side building on the Temple Mount which Israeli authorities closed in 2003, after it was used for terrorist activities.

Numerous riots have broken out on and around the Temple Mount, ultimately resulting in the reopening of the Golden Gate by rioters - in violation of police orders.

Two other religious officials have also been detained, Firas al-Dibs, spokesman for the Waqf which answers to Jordan as custodian of the Temple Mount.

Israeli police, contacted by AFP, had no immediate comment on the reports.

Jordan's minister for religious affairs, Abdel Nasser Abu-Bassal, quoted by state news agency Petra, accused Israel of "a new escalation aimed at impeding Waqf's work in Jerusalem and intimidating its members".
AFP contributed to this report.