Israel suspends visits to Muslim holy site

Aug. 2, 2003 at 11:45 AM

JERUSALEM, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Israel has suspended visits by non-Muslims to a holy Muslim site in Jerusalem, the BBC reported Saturday.

The Israelis had allowed such visits in recent weeks to the Haram al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary, which is also known as Temple Mount. But the move had angered Palestinians and authorities decided to suspend the privilege fearing violence, the BBC reported.

It was not clear how long the suspension would remain in effect.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had earlier warned of "grave consequences" if Israel continued to allow Jews to visit the site.

Last week, police banned Muslims under the age of 40 from visiting the site, fearing protests by Palestinians against the decision to allow visits by Jews, the BBC said.

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