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Israel shuts down offices of Islamic bodies
Tuesday January 13, 2015 11:23 AM, IANS

Israel shut down the offices of three Islamic organisations in the northern part of the country Monday over unrest at a Jerusalem holy site, Israel's Shin Bet security agency stated.

The Shin Bet said that it operated along with the police's special 433 Lahav Unit and shut down the offices of the three Islamic organisations located in northern Israel's Nazareth city, according to a Xinhua report.

The move, which was taken following unrest at the holy site of Temple Mount in Jerusalem, came after the Israeli defence ministry banned the Islamic organisations as "illegal associations" in December.

Raids took place Monday at the offices of "Ruad al-Aqsa" "Al-Jaffar Fund for Art and Literature" and "Muslims for Al-Aqsa", all believed to be funded by the radical northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The defence establishment suspects that the organisations paid activists to cause unrest at the Temple Mount and prevent Jews from approaching the site.

According to the Shin Bet, the organisations sought to "undercut the security of the visitors to the Temple Mount compound and cause an escalation of tension and even disturbances, while impinging on Israel's sovereignty (over) the complex".

It stressed that these activities fanned the already high tensions in the sensitive site, which is holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.

There have been frequent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians at the site in the past several months and there have also been many militant attacks.

The site is home to the al-Aqsa Mosque, holy to Muslims and was the location of the second Jewish Temple.

Israel took control of the site during the Middle East War in 1967, but under the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, the Temple Mount remains under Jordanian custodianship, and Jews are allowed to enter the compound, but are forbidden from praying or conducting religious rites there. The Muslim Waqf has administrative control over the site.

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