Friday, March 12, 2010

Israel closes West Bank and blocks entry Al Aqsa

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered on Friday the army to seal off the West Bank for 48 hours until midnight on Saturday, an army spokesman said.
Also restrictions were in place for worshipping in the Aqsa mosque.
Police began preventing worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the mosque for prayer, while those who were allowed to access had their IDs checked and held with police until they finished and left, the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights said.
The moves come after violent clashes at the site during last week's Muslim prayers (picture) and fresh tensions over Israeli plans to build 1,600 homes for Jewish settlers in mostly Arab east Jerusalem.The army said some medical and religious workers, teachers, journalists and others would be exempted from the West Bank closure.
Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in September 2000, Israel has usually sealed off the West Bank ahead of major holidays, saying the move is necessary to prevent attacks, but only rarely on other occasions.

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