Security tight as Israelis mark 1967 capture of east Jerusalem

2016-06-05 16:14
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(iStock)

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Jerusalem - Israeli police deployed in large numbers in Jerusalem on Sunday ahead of an annual march marking the country's 1967 seizure of the Palestinian-dominated eastern half of the city.

This year's march comes as Muslims prepare to begin observing the fasting month of Ramadan, when many Palestinians visit the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City.

The Israeli march for "Jerusalem Day" also plans to pass through the Muslim quarter of the Old City before arriving at the Western Wall, which is directly below the Al-Aqsa compound, leading to fears of tensions.

About 30 000 demonstrators were expected at the march. 

"We shall be there in very large numbers," Israeli police spokesperson Asi Aharoni said. "We have more than 2 000 police just for the Jerusalem Day events."

Israeli rights group Ir Amim had asked Israel's supreme court to bar the march from entering the Old City through the Damascus Gate, the main entry used by Palestinians.

The court rejected the appeal, but required the marchers to complete their passage through the Damascus Gate by 18:15 and through the Muslim quarter by 19:00.

The time restrictions were in place in case Ramadan began on Sunday night. The start of Ramadan coincides with the new moon.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state. Israelis see all of Jerusalem as their capital.

The future status of Jerusalem is among the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read more on:    palestine  |  israel  |  religion

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