Israeli Police Restrict Access to Jerusalem for Ramadan

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
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Israel has tightened security in Jerusalem, restricting access to the al-Aqsa mosque on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Israeli police and border guards were deployed in the city, as thousands of Palestinians gathered to take part in Friday prayers at the mosque, Islam's third-holiest site.

Access to the complex was being denied for men and women under certain ages.

Israel has said its restrictions on Palestinian movement are to prevent violence.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The start of the holiday is determined by the appearance of the new moon.

During Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast and abstain from smoking and sex from dawn to sunset. The month ends with a celebration called Eid al-Fitr.