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Israel firms up security as Gaza truce takes hold


Israel restricted Palestinian access to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Friday and kept a tight grip on security as a first death tested a hard-won truce ending fighting in and around Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party meanwhile prepared for a crunch primary Sunday amid signs its popularity was slipping among Israelis who would have preferred a ground invasion of the Hamas-controlled strip.

Tensions on the streets of annexed Arab east Jerusalem remained high a day after angry demonstrators stormed an Israeli police station in a bid to secure the release of a Palestinian woman who tried to stab a border guard.

Israel decided to take out extra precautions by barring Palestinians under 40 from accessing the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem — Islam’s third holiest site — which is also revered by Jews.

“An extensive police force and border guards will also be deployed in sensitive areas around the Old City of Jerusalem,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

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