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Israeli Settlers Check Arms at Holy Sites

March 12, 1994|Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Jews asserting their right to be at the Western Wall danced Friday while Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan at an adjacent holy site. Police forced settlers to check their weapons.

The end of the holy month was potentially volatile in the superheated emotional climate that followed the Hebron mosque massacre, in which about 30 Palestinians were killed by an Israeli settler.

As a result of a massive display of police force, Arabs were allowed to enter the old walled city only through the gates leading to Al Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest in Islam.

Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were barred from entering Jerusalem. A prayer leader criticized Israel, saying that only 20,000 got through for Friday prayers--about 10% of those who wanted to.

No violence was reported during Friday prayers, but later dozens of Arab youths rioted in East Jerusalem, Israeli radio said.

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