Israeli police on Sunday sealed the gates of occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid calls by Jewish extremist groups to storm the holy site.
“Israeli police have stepped up security in the area, deploying hundreds of troops and setting up roadblocks at the mosque’s entrances,” mosque director Omar al-Qiswani told Anadolu Agency.
“Only women and men over 30 years old were allowed to enter the mosque after undergoing rigorous searches,” he said.
Tension has been running high at the flashpoint mosque complex following the murder last week of a Palestinian infant by suspected Jewish extremists.
Ali Saeed Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old Palestinian child, burned to death early Friday after suspected Jewish settlers torched his home in the village of Duma in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Dawabsheh’s parents and brother were seriously injured in the attack.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.