In another Israeli decision that could lead to further tension in Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities decided to bar all Palestinian residents under the age of 45 from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem for Friday prayers.Israeli media sources reported that the Israeli Police and Border Guard Units will impose a strict siege around the Al Aqsa Mosque, and will only allow Arab residents of Israel who are 45-years old or more to enter the mosque.

Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank will not be allowed into the mosque or its surrounding area, the Maan News Agency reported.

The Israeli decision was made during a “security session” in Jerusalem; the police intend to deploy thousands of armed policemen on Friday morning around the Old City of Jerusalem and in the Old City itself.  

The Israeli police claimed that this decision was made “to avoid clashes with the worshipers on Friday”, since the police expect the worshipers to protests against the excavations Israel is conducting near the mosque.