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Saturday, February 10, 2007

JERUSALEM Calms Down A Bit After The Holy Sites Renovation Begins

Jerusalem: It was quiet on Jerusalem's streets on Saturday, a day after stone-throwing protesters clashed with police over Israeli construction work near the Al Aqsa mosque.

Israeli police on Friday used stun grenades to disperse rioters angry at what they believe is an Israeli ploy to harm Muslim holy sites. The clashes injured at least 35 people.

"Things are calm and quiet now," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. "Police are continuing the security measures in and around east Jerusalem and we'll prevent any further riots or disturbances from taking place."

Renovations at Jerusalem’s Old City – holy to Muslims and Jews – are scheduled to resume next week, Rosenfeld said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Islamic movement in Israel echoed promises by Muslim leaders in Jerusalem of continued protests against the construction work.

"We have a full programme of protests for the coming weeks in order to stop the Israeli crimes against the Al Aqsa mosque," said Shaikh Raed Salah.

"Continuing the work will increase the tension and anger among Palestinians and in the Arab-Islamic world," Salah added.

Israel insists that holy sites will not be at risk despite the construction work, which is expected to take months.

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