Israel eased age restrictions for Friday prayers at Jerusalem`s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque for a second straight week, allowing tens of thousands to attend despite high tensions following a wave of violence.
Jewish extremist groups planned to march through Jerusalem Thursday in a move expected to stoke tensions following a deadly Palestinian car attack and clashes at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
The United States has urged all sides in Jerusalem to exercise restraint amid spiralling tensions in the holy city, and said it was working with Israelis, Palestinian and Jordanians to try to restore calm.
Israel`s closure of the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound to all visitors following the shooting of a Jewish hardliner is tantamount to a "declaration of war," Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Thursday.
Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza participated in a Hamas-organised rally on Friday over Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque, the scene of recurring clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in recent days.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday blamed "Palestinian extremists" for clashes at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, denying Israel was behind mounting tensions at the site.
Israel`s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described Jerusalem as the "heart of the nation" and vowed to preserve the holy city "as the undivided capital of Israel" for eternity, a position that can derail the fragile peace process with the Palestinians.