06:41 GMT +320 July 2019
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    A balloon flies near the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third most holy site, in the old city of Jerusalem

    Turkish PM Slams Israeli Restrictions on Muslims' Access to Al-Aqsa Mosque

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    Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim condemned on Friday Israeli government's measures to step up security on the Temple Mount and restrict access to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslim prayers after last week's deadly attack on the Israeli police, adding that it would not help to solve the existing conflict.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — The Israeli authorities decided to install metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount, where the mosques of Al-Aqsa and Qubbat al-Sakhra located, and mount video cameras to monitor what is happening on the territory after a deadly accident that occurred last week. On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone conversation with Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin and urged Tel Aviv not to restrict the Muslims' access to the mosques on the Temple Mount.

    "Their implementation is wrong. Taking such radical measures over a terror threat, blocking or restricting Muslims' access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, will not contribute to solving any problems," Yildirim was quoted as saying by Anadolu news agency.

    According to Yildirim, such measures would only damage "tolerance" between different religious groups.

    "I hope that in the near future everything will return to normal," the prime minister added.

    Earlier in the day, thousands of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs gathered near the Old City in order to go to the Temple Mount and pray in Al-Aqsa mosque, which is the third holiest site in Islam. Many Muslims refused to go through the metal detectors and clashed with police. At the same time, reports showed that the Israeli police barred some male Muslims under the age of 50 from entering Jerusalem's Old City and Temple Mount for Friday prayers due to the threat of mass protests.

    On July 14, two Israeli police officers died and another one was wounded after three armed assailants opened fire at the Temple Mount complex. The police pursued and killed the assailants. Following the attack, the site was cleared of visitors and closed off to carry out searches.

    The Temple Mount is under the autonomous administration of the Waqf and only the followers of Islam can pray on the site, while representatives of other religious traditions are allowed to visit it freely.

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    Al-Aqsa Mosque, Binali Yildirim, Israel, Turkey
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