Trump aide to visit Israel in bid to ease tensions

Israeli border police stand guard as a Palestinian man prays outside the Lion’s Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City on July 23, 2017.

:: A top aide to US President Donald Trump was due in Israel Monday in a bid to ease tensions over new security measures at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site, a US official said.

“President Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt departed for Israel last night to support efforts to reduce tensions in the region,” the official said on condition of anonymity. Further details on his trip were not immediately available.

Metal detectors were installed at entrances to the site, which includes Al-Aqsa mosque, following an attack on July 14 that killed two Israeli policemen.

Palestinians view the move as Israel asserting further control over the site. They have refused to enter the compound in protest and have prayed in the streets outside. Israeli authorities say the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the site and emerged from it to shoot the officers.

Clashes have broken out during protests over the measures, leaving five Palestinians dead. On Friday, a Palestinian broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and stabbed three Israelis to death.

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