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12-10-02, 19:01
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, 12 October — Israeli police yesterday blocked Palestinians’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Friday prayers and used force to drive back worshipers.

About 200 angry young Palestinians tried to push their way through a barricade at the walled Lion’s Gate of the Old City to go to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for prayers but were driven back by police.

Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said there were no arrests or injuries and added that authorities had temporarily barred Palestinians under the age of 40 from the mosque “in light of intelligence warnings of civil disturbances planned for Friday’s prayers”. Some worshipers said police restrictions were exacerbating tensions. “Soon they will raise the minimum age to 50, then who knows?” said a Palestinian in his early 20s near Lion’s Gate.

In Nablus, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian woman inside her home yesterday, Palestinian medical sources and her family said.

Shaden Abu Hisli, 50, was inside her home when soldiers in an army jeep opened fire and hit her with a bullet in the head, the sources said.

In another development, Israeli tanks entered Palestinian territory in the northern Gaza Strip yesterday, where the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) claimed it wounded a Jewish settler.

The tanks fired five shells and opened up with heavy machine guns as they moved a few meter into the Beit Hanoun area, Palestinian security sources said. Some houses were damaged but no casualties reported.

In Gaza, thousands of activists from Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction marched yesterday in a show of strength against the Hamas over the killing of a Palestinian police chief by a Hamas member.

“We call on the parties that claim to have no connection to the assassination of Col. Rajeh Abu Lehya to end their policy of chaos and anarchy,” a Fatah statement distributed at the rally said in clear reference to Hamas.

In Jerusalem, guards outside the French Embassy in Tel Aviv foiled an attempted bombing yesterday, separating the would-be bomber from his explosive belt before he could detonate it, public radio said.