From the news desk

Israel limits Palestinian access to Jerusalem Old City

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Israeli police have closed off access to the Old city of Jerusalem for Palestinians who are not residents of the area, after two attacks in less than 12 hours that saw the killing of two Israelis and two Palestinians.

On Sunday morning, a Palestinian man was shot dead by police after he stabbed an Israeli teenager in the Bab Al-Amoud area of Jerusalem.

Earlier on Saturday night, two Israeli men were killed and a woman and her son injured in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian man in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Palestinian was identified as 19-year-old Muhannad Halabi from the city of al-Bireh in the central occupied West Bank, 15km north of Jerusalem.

Israeli police said access to the Old City in East Jerusalem was now limited to residents of the area, local business owners, students who attend school in the area, Israeli citizens and tourists.

Police said the restrictions would last for two days.

Israeli soldiers evacuated the al-Aqsa Mosque compound after arresting at least 40 worshippers following the first attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to convene an emergency meeting with security officials later on Sunday, his office said, and a security cabinet meeting on Monday.

Violence has risen in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

On Thursday, an Israeli couple was shot dead while their four children were in the car in a suspected Palestinian drive-by attack near a West Bank Jewish settlement.

Israeli police and Palestinians have also clashed frequently at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third-holiest site, and at other Arab parts of the city.

Palestinians have said they fear that increasing visits by Jewish groups to the compound, revered by Jews as the site of Biblical temples, are eroding Muslim religious control there.

Israel has pledged to maintain Muslim prayer rights at al-Aqsa, but, citing security concerns, has frequently banned young Muslim men from entering the area.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, lands Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war, for a future state.

But Israel continues to build Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, a policy deemed illegal by the UN.

The last round of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis collapsed in 2014. Al Jazeera

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