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Friday, February 27, 2009

Hundreds barred from prayers at Al-Aqsa

Mohammed Mar’i, Arab News

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli police barred hundreds of Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for prayers yesterday.

Palestinian sources said that thousands of police and Border Guard officers were deployed in the Old City, despite the stormy weather, to prevent worshipers from entering A-Aqsa. The Israeli police said that the decision followed intelligence indicating a possible riot following protests against the Jewish-dominated Jerusalem municipality orders to hundreds of Palestinians to leave their homes in East Jerusalem’s Al-Bustan neighborhood.

The Israeli police have allowed Palestinian men over age 45 and Palestinians woman over age 35 to enter the site for prayers.

The national and religious movements in Jerusalem called for the organization of events to protest the Israeli decision to “demolish dozens of houses in the historical neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the displacement of thousands of citizens to Judize the city and the targeting of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The Jerusalem municipality last Sunday ordered owners of 80 houses in Al-Bustan neighborhood to leave their “illegal” homes.

For its part, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called on Palestinians to launch “a national general strike” today to protest the “new Israeli massacre that aims to Judize Jerusalem.”

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