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US condemns 'all acts of violence' at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa compound

AFP , Monday 14 Sep 2015
Israeli policemen prevent Palestinian women from entering the compound which houses al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City September 13, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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The United States on Monday condemned "all acts of violence" at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa compound where Muslims and Israeli police clashed for a second straight day.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions surrounding the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount. We strongly condemn all acts of violence," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, calling on all sides to exercise restraint.

Palestinians and Israeli police clashed at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound for a second straight day on Monday, prompting at least three arrests, police said.

Police said they entered the hilltop compound to ensure that Palestinian youths massing there did not clash with Israelis during the morning visiting hours. The site is sacred to Muslims.

The Police statement added that three Palestinian protesters were arrested and visits by Israelis went ahead as planned to the site, the third-holiest in Islam.

An AFP journalist outside the gate saw an Israeli visitor leaving the compound scuffle with Palestinians outside.

Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the compound, but Jews must not pray or display national symbols for fear of triggering tensions with Muslim worshippers.

Muslim fear Israel will seek to change rules governing the site, with far-right Jewish groups pushing for more access and even efforts by fringe organisations to erect a new temple.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, in the Six Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

"It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount, in word and in practice," Kirby said.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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