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Israel Eases Temple Mount Restrictions on Muslims

Following trilateral talks with Jordan and the United States on deescalating tensions in Jerusalem, Israel lifted its age limitation on entrance to the Temple Mount.

On Friday, Israel allowed for the first time in two weeks for Muslim men under the age of 50 to enter the Temple Mount compound, which contains the al-Aqsa Mosque, Army Radio reported.

The limitation came after several weeks of violent clashes in east Jerusalem between Israeli troops and Palestinian protestors and a spike in terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Its lifting came hours after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Aman with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

At a press conference in Amman Thursday, Kerry said that in the talks, the leaders agreed “to make sure that they de-escalate the situation, and that the steps they take will instill confidence that the status quo will be upheld.” He declined to specify the steps in question.

“There are firm commitments, particularly from the custodian of the holy mosque,” Kerry said in reference to Jordan, “as well as Israel, to guarantee that they will take these steps.”

Asked whether Jordan would return her ambassador to Israel, who was recalled for consultation during the escalation period, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said: “Let’s see what happens and then we’ll review our decision, but we have to see what happens on the ground first.”

Meanwhile, security forces in Jerusalem were deployed in large numbers to respond to rioting, Army Radio reported. On Thursday, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was injured by a sponge bullet fired by Israel Police that hit him in the face.

The incident happened during a demonstration in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. Police fired the bullets, as well as tear gas and other crowd control methods, as masked Palestinian youths threw rocks at them, AFP reported.

The bullet smashed the youth’s nose and caused heavy bleeding. He is being treated at Hadassah Medical center in Ein Kerem, where he is listed in moderate condition.

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