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Israel eases entry to Jerusalem holy site amid simmering tensions

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Israel eases entry to Jerusalem holy site amid simmering tensions

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Israel has partially reopened access to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, a day after the shooting of a prominent Jewish far-right activist.

Only Muslim worshippers over the age of 50 are being allowed back in to pray after Israeli authorities closed down all entry to the sacred compound following violence in East Jerusalem.

Locals say it was the first time in 14 years that Al Aqsa had been shut to all visitors, whether they be Muslims, Jews or tourists.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas described the closure as “tantamount to a declaration of war” by Israel.

Tensions have been high for weeks following the Gaza war and Israel’s moves to expand settlement building in eastern areas of the city, which the Palestinians want for a capital of an independent state alongside Gaza and the West Bank.