JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prayers at the compound of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque passed off peacefully on Friday despite a week of tension over access to a corner of the compound.
Israeli police had increased their presence over concerns of violence as thousands of Muslim worshippers gathered at the holy site, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
Before the prayer session, police arrested 60 people they suspected would incite violence, a police spokesman said.
The dispute focused on a passageway of gates and a stairway leading to a hall that had been closed by Israeli authorities for years and was reopened on Friday by Muslim religious officials. The hall is located a short distance from Al-Aqsa mosque itself.
Israeli police had heightened their presence throughout Jerusalem’s walled old city to prevent any clashes from breaking out, the police spokesman said.
The old city was among areas Israel captured in a 1967 war with Jordan, which retains a stewardship role at the mosque.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Alison Williams)