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Israel restricts Muslim access to Al-Aqsa today

Israeli police have restricted Palestinian men under the age of 40 from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers.

The police statement said the action was taken in light of information that some Palestinian youths intend to “disturb public order” after Friday prayers.

Earlier in the day Al Jazeera reported that Israeli buses carrying dozens of settlers were heading towards the Mughrabi Gate in order to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque within the coming hours.

As many as 150 Jewish settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy protection from the Israeli forces yesterday.

Israeli activists and members of the ruling Likud party have also participated in the storming of the mosque.

Israeli public radio said the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads the Likud, sought to discourage activists from participating in storming of the mosque but failed.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s correspondent said the Israeli forces did not impose any restrictions yesterday on the entry of Muslim worshipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque despite the heavy deployment of security forces outside its doors.

He added that the Israeli forces have closed the Mughrabi Gate which is used by Jewish settlers and extremist groups to storm the mosque.

Al-Aqsa Mosque has been subjected in the past four days to repeated incursions by Jewish settlers under protection from the Israeli police leading to violent clashes with Muslim worshippers.

The Israeli political and security cabinet yesterday approved a security plan put forward by Israeli police to face stone throwers.

The plan provides to suppress stone-throwers and strengthen the Jerusalem police with hundreds of new security equipment and the use of police dogs against stone throwers.

The plan also provides for the activation of cameras especially in Jewish neighbourhoods and to launch eight monitoring sites over cities and to activate and strengthen undercover police.

It also allows for the demolition of the homes of stone throwers.

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