Old City, Except Western Wall, is Closed to Israelis ‘until Tempers Cool’

The Old City of Jerusalem was closed to Israelis today except for the Westwall (Wailing) Wall, access to which is permitted only via the Jaffa Gate. All other gates were closed in order to prevent friction between Arabs and Jews in the aftermath of the El Aksa mosque fire. Foreign tourists and residents of the Old City however were permitted to come and go freely. A Government spokesman said the Old City would be re-opened when “tempers cool.”

The suspect who has confessed to setting the fire which severely damaged the 1,400 year-old Islamic shrine last Thursday was brought to the mosque area under heavy guard today to reconstruct his movements for police. Michael Denis William Rohen, 27, an Australian national, showed police where he entered the mosque, where he placed the fuel and set the fire and the escape route he took. Rohen was arrested last Friday after Moslem guards at the mosque described a man they saw running away from the fire.

(Sen. Charles E. Goodell. of New York, said in Tel Aviv yesterday that he thought the issue of Jerusalem and its holy places should be the subject of direct negotiations between Israel and the Arabs. Sen. Goodell, Republican, is visiting Israel in a private capacity. Yesterday he was a guest of Histadrut, Israel’s labor federation.)

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