Ma'an News Agency
September 24, 2010 - 12:00am

Checkpoints were erected at the entrances to several Jerusalem neighborhoods on Friday, with soldiers preventing residents from leaving the areas in several cases, witnesses said.

Hundreds of police and border officers were deployed around the Old City, with 3,000 in total across East Jerusalem, officials estimated.

Israeli Police Commander in Chief Dudi Cohen reportedly decided to maintain the state of alert declared Friday morning in the city, extending it through the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The week earlier during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, residents of the Palestinain neighborhoods of Jerusalem were also barred from moving from one area to another by car or walking through major roads.

Earlier in the day, Palestinians heading to the Old City for prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque faced tight restrictions, with men under 50 turned away on the grounds that security officials believed there was a risk of continued clashes if young men gathered.

Clashes erupted on Wednesday during a 1,000-strong funeral procession for Samer Sarhan, 28, one of two Palestinians killed by an Israeli settler guard early that morning.

On Friday, only three of the gates to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound were opened, as the Bab Hutta entrance remained closed for the third day in a row.

Checkpoints throughout the Old City saw soldiers stopping residents to check identity cards, and in some cases barring access to neighborhoods around the city.

West Bank crossings were sealed for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, while extra closures were imposed on the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Al-Isawiya, Ras Al-Amoud, and the Shu'fat refugee camp, where clashes lasted late into Wednesday night, and continued periodically on Thursday.

Fatah officials detained

Israeli intelligence officers arrested two Fatah leaders from Silwan, identified as Ma’mun Al-A’basi, a member of Fatah in Jerusalem and appointee to the National Committee Against Expulsion, and Adnan Gheith, a party member.

Both were detained after Israeli forces entered their Jerusalem homes overnight, sources told Ma'an.

In the wake of the arrests, witnesses said checkpoints were installed at the entrances to Silwan and Wad Hilwa. Residents and goods were prevented from traveling in or out of the area.

Soldiers told residents that the barriers were erected following the injury of two officers on Thursday night during clashes.

Israeli media reports said the soldiers were transferred to hospital for treatment.

Silwan residents, barred from leaving the area for prayer at Al-Aqsa, are expected to gather at the protest tent for worship.


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