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Temple Mount Closed To Jews After Prayer

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Police closed the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors after a group of Jews began praying at the site in violation of the rules of the site.

Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy ordered the closure on Wednesday over the Jewish group’s “violating the rules of conduct that apply to the holy site,” according to Israel Police.

The Jewish visitors brought prayer books to the site, Haaretz reported. One of the visitors was warned not to use the book, and after a second took one out the group was expelled, according to Haaretz.

The Temple Mount had been closed by police on Friday in the wake of an attack which killed two Israel Police officers.

Both Jewish visitors and tourists were allowed back on the holy site Monday, a day after two of the nine entrances reopened to Muslim worshippers with metal detectors and security cameras installed. The Mughrabi Gate entrance for Jews and tourists already had metal detectors in place.

The return to the site marks the first time that Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount are not under scrutiny by guards for the Muslim Waqf, the Islamic trust that oversees the holy site, since Muslims are boycotting the site over the presence of the metal detectors. The Waqf guards usually watch to make sure Jewish visitors do not pray or perform any religious rituals at the site, which is a violation of the so-called status quo.

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