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Israel bans West Bank Palestinians from prayer at Al-Aqsa
Israel bans West Bank Palestinians from prayer at Al-Aqsa
Date: 05 / 12 / 2008  Time:  10:59
The Dome of the Rock, East
Jerusalem [Ma'anImages]
Jerusalem -  - Israeli authorities imposed new restrictions on the entry of worshipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday in expectation of "troubles" following the evacuation of a settler-occupied house in Hebron on Thursday.

Israel's Army Radio said that the commander of Israeli police in Jerusalem, Aharon Franco, announced the order to prevent worshipers from the West Bank from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel had previously set conditions for the entry of men and women to pray in Jerusalem by age. Before, men and women over 45 were the only Muslim Palestinians permitted access to Jerusalem, other than holders of Israeli identity cards.

Israeli authorities announced a state of alert across Israel following the events in Hebron on Thursday, in which dozens were injured in settler violence throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops deployed in large numbers at the Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, purportedly to prevent settler attacks against Palestinians.

Israeli forces forcibly removed 250 right-wing settlers from a Palestinian house in the West Bank city of Hebron, weeks after the Israeli High Court ordered their eviction.

The evacuation touched off violent settler attacks accross the West Bank.

Settlers have repeatedly attacked Palestinian homes in the city over the past few days. Prior to the evacuation, Israeli settlers fired randomly at Palestinian homes. Settlers set fire to two Palestinian homes and a store, later attacking a number of residents in the Wadi Hussein area of Hebron.

On Friday, An Israeli human rights organization released footage to Ma'an documenting a settler shooting two members of a Palestinian family on Thursday in Hebron.

B’Tselem provided the footage, which was originally filmed by Jamal Abu-Sa'ifan, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, following the eviction of the new settlement on Thursday afternoon.

The statement came a day after settlers unleashed a "wave of settler violence against Palestinians" in retaliation for the Israeli army's actions against illegal settlements in Hebron, according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

Two Palestinians were wounded when settlers opened fire at them in Hebron, and there is immediate danger to physical safety "if settlers are allowed to rampage," B'Tselem added.

Settlers attacked the nearby house of the Abu-Se'ifan family and during ensuing clashes, a settler fired his handgun at 40-year-old Hosni Abu-Se'ifan, who was shot in the chest and is in stable condition. His father, 65-year-old Abd Al-Hai Abu-Sa'ifan, was moderately wounded in the arm. The two were taken to a Hebron hospital.

Israeli security sources expressed "concerns of Israeli settler attacks and tensions in Hebron," according to Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv.

Security officials fear that Israeli right-wing extremists may attack Palestinians in Jerusalem in an attempt to escalate tensions, particularly following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Shin Bet chief Yuval Diksin and the heads of other security agencies to discuss preparations to counter "any revenge attacks carried out by militants from radical right-wing groups," Ma'ariv reported.

Israel also warned Hebron residents that extremism will be prosecuted, according to the paper. As of Friday afternoon, Central Region Commander Ghadi Chmini had signed 33 deportation orders barring settlers from Hebron who had "enflamed the situation" there, according to Ma'ariv.
Dec 10, 2008 5:15 AM
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