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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 12:19 GMT
Jewish 'plot over Temple Mount'
The Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, is holy to Muslims and Jews
Israeli police have previously deployed to stop Jewish attacks on the holy site
Jewish protesters are plotting to take over the Temple Mount in an attempt to thwart Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, an Israeli TV station has reported.

Channel Two showed a video of the plotters, including rabbis and far-right extremists, in a meeting to discuss ways to occupy the holy site.

The Temple Mount is known as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims.

The meeting took place at a secret location in the Old City of Jerusalem, the TV station said.

It involved representatives from 30 different groups.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has appealed to Israel to stop any action against the compound.

"We warn that the region will explode if there is any attack against al-Aqsa," Mr Qurei told reporters.

Large numbers of Israeli police were deployed around the Temple Mount compound in mid-February for fear of an attack by Jewish extremists.

Protests against withdrawal

Opponents of the Gaza withdrawal plan have been protesting in a number of ways, including blocking traffic on major roads causing massive jams.

Israel is due to withdraw all settlers and the troops that protect them from Gaza in July this year. Israel has occupied Gaza since 1967, and will retain control of the strip's external borders, airspace and coastline.

The Temple Mount compound, in the old city in East Jerusalem, covers an area of 35 acres.

The site is holy to Jews because it is the site of the First and Second Temple in ancient times. It is known in Jewish tradition as the "abode of God's presence".

The same area is known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It is of deep religious, political and national significance to Palestinians and to Muslims around the world.


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