Abbas opposes 'escalation' with Israel as Al-Aqsa prayers restrictions lifted

A Palestinian youth uses a slingshot to throw stones at Israeli security forces during clashes at the main entrance of the West Bank town of Bethlehem on October 6, 2015Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Tuesday he wanted to avoid a violent escalation with Israel as Israeli police lifted restrictions on worship at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in an apparent bid to ease tensions after three weeks of violence. Abbas’s remarks came as spreading unrest provoked fears of a new uprising and as Israeli and Palestinian officers met to discuss ways of defusing the situation. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri announced that Muslims would be allowed to worship again at the Al-Aqsa mosque starting Wednesday — a move welcomed by US State Department spokesman Mark Toner as “a step in the right direction” after another day of clashes.

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