Israel bans senior Islamic clerk from entering Aqsa Mosque

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israeli police have banned several Islamic officials appointed by Jordan from entering a Jerusalem holy site following clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli authorities in recent weeks.

Abdel Azem Salhab, the highest-ranking official in the Jordanian-run council overseeing the site, said that police handed him and two other Palestinian officials the order on Sunday.

The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is considered the third-holiest place in Islam and the holiest by Jews.

Salhab said police informed him the ban was because of his role in opening a gate that has been closed by Israeli court order since 2003.

Jordan’s Religious Affairs Minister Abdel Nasser Abu Albasal condemned the Israeli decision as “a new escalation” meant to disrupt the council’s work.

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