Israel re-opens Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israel re-opens Al-Aqsa Mosque

Thursday, October 30, 2014 6:35 pm

Al-Aqsa mosque: now open

Al-Aqsa mosque: now open

Israel decided Thursday evening to reopen Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound hours after ordering its closure and following Arab and US calls for Muslim worshippers to be allowed in.

“It was decided to restore (the compound) to normal… effective immediately,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, adding that because of a fear of unrest at Friday midday prayers, entry for men would be restricted to those over 50.

The United States has urged all sides in Jerusalem to exercise restraint amid spiralling tensions in the holy city, and was working with Israelis, Palestinian and Jordanians to try to restore calm.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also condemned the shooting of hardline rabbi Yehuda Glick, who holds both Israeli and US citizenship.

She called for the reopening of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to Muslim worshippers, just before police said the compound was now open again.

“We’re extremely concerned by escalating tensions across Jerusalem and particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif, Temple Mount,” Psaki said.

“It is actually critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in word and in practice.”

She told reporters that a “continued commitment by Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians to preserve the historic status quo at this holy site is critical.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to be in touch with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the next 24 hours, Psaki added.

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