Trump Aide to Visit Israel in Bid to Ease Tensions: U.S. Official

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JERUSALEM (AFP) – A top aide to US President Donald Trump was due in Israel on 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.

Greenblatt’s visit comes with tensions high over new Israeli security measures at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Metal detectors were installed at entrances to the site, which includes Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, 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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