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Israel orders closure of disputed Jerusalem ramp
Citing public safety, Israel orders closure of controversial walkway in Jerusalem's Old City
By The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) ' Israeli authorities have ordered the closure of a pedestrian walkway in Jerusalem's Old City that has become a flashpoint for competing religious and political claims.

Jerusalem municipality spokesman Stephan Miller said Monday the temporary ramp is dangerous and the city engineer ordered it closed.

The walkway leads up to the sacred enclosure known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. It is used by Jews and tourists, while Muslims use other entrances.

The ramp was meant to be temporary when it was built in 2004 to replace a walkway that collapsed in a snowstorm.

But the Palestinians and Jordan dispute Israel's right to carry out any work around the compound, and the ramp's replacement has been repeatedly delayed because of fears of violence.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NAHAL OZ, Israel (AP) ' A senior Israeli army official says another Israeli military confrontation in Hamas-run Gaza is inevitable.

Col. Yonaton Branski says that's because Hamas militants are improving their arsenal and training. Branski is the deputy commander of a division that oversees Israel's volatile border with Gaza.

He did not predict when the clash would take place, and didn't specify whether he was referring to a pinpoint operation or larger conflict.

But in comments Monday to reporters, Branski said Israel's military "can't avoid another confrontation."

Other senior Israeli officials have made similar assessments.

Branski's remarks followed a flare up in violence between Israel and Hamas militants this past week.

Three years ago, Israel went to war in Gaza after years of rocket attacks.

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