Israeli police have deployed in force on a planned day of Palestinian protest against controversial work near
To guard against possible unrest, 3,000 policemen and border guards fanned out around
Mohammed Hussein, the Palestinian mufti, and Raed Salah, the head of
Only Muslim men aged over 50 and in possession of Israeli identity cards are being allowed to attend Friday prayers at the mosque, although there are no restrictions on women. Communal Friday prayers are a religious obligation for Muslim men.
Al Jazeera's Barnaby Philips said men who had been prevented from entering the mosque were praying outside on the street and that at least three people had been arrested.
Salah vowed to ignore the Israeli court's order.
"I have the right to enter al-Aqsa," Salah told Al Jazeera. "We have the right to protect the al-Aqsa mosque and confront the Israeli occupation.
"I hope that 10,000 of our people will head towards al-Aqsa mosque today [Friday]."