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Israel lifts age ban for Muslim pilgrims

Jerusalem : Israel Friday lifted an age ban prohibiting younger Muslims from accessing the Temple Mount compound and the Al Aqsa mosque.

The restrictions, which were applied to men and women under the age 35, were lifted a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Amman to hold talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and US Secretary of State, John Kerry, to discuss ways of reducing tensions in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces remained deployed around the religious compound in Jerusalem, in case clashes erupt.

Tensions worsened after Palestinians recently carried out hit-and-run attacks on random civilians that resulted in the death of three Israelis and an Ecuadorean woman in East Jerusalem, and the attempted murder of a rabbi.

In retaliation, Israel imposed restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter the Temple Mount, the third holiest site for Muslims, while visits by ultranationalist Jews to areas outside the mosque compound were allowed to continue, leading to further Palestinian unrest.