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Israel Locks Down al Aqsa Mosque During Tense Stand-Off

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Israeli authorities barred Palestinian worshippers from leaving the al Aqsa mosque during a tense standoff Monday morning, as Jewish worshippers entered the compound to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot.

An Israeli police spokesman told the New York Times that officers locked an unknown worshippers inside after they found stashes of “petrol bombs, stones, bottle rockets and fireworks” within the compound.

Israeli police entered the compound, known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims, at 7 a.m. local time, the Times reports, one hour before it was opened to Jewish visitors and tourists. The spokesman said no one was arrested or injured.

The morning’s visitors included right-wing minister Moshe Feiglin, whose assertion of pilgrimage rights over the site has been a source of past tension. Local media reported clashes between Palestinian demonstrators hurling rocks and police, who fired tear gas into the crowd. Israeli authorities denied Palestinian media reports of tear gas and rubber bullets being used inside the mosque.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday during a visit to the West Bank that he was “deeply concerned by repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem.”


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