7.20.2017

Al-Aqsa and the Old City of Jerusalem | Israel

The Old City of Jerusalem is home to some of the holiest sites in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The area houses al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine, Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, as well as the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple.

The site of the al-Aqsa Mosque is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, while Jews refer to the place of worship as Temple Mount. Other holy sites in the area are the Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

READ MORE – Timeline: Critical events at the al-Aqsa Mosque

Tensions have been rising after two Israeli security officers were killed in an alleged attack by three Palestinians, who were killed by Israeli police following the violence.

After the incident, the site was closed for Friday prayers, leading to protests from disgruntled Muslims who wanted to pray.

READ MORE: Israel’s closure of al-Aqsa a ‘collective punishment’

Questions about control of the site frequently lead to outbursts of fighting. Increased security measures have now been implemented to prevent future attacks, but Palestinians fear Israel is trying to retake the site by stealth.

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