Thousands of Israeli police encircled Jerusalem's Old City Sunday, stopping cars and setting up roadblocks in an attempt to prevent an ultranationalist group from entering a disputed holy site.
Authorities say police arrested three Israeli right-wing activists, including the leader of an ultranationalist group Revava. The group planned to lead thousands of activists into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound today.
The hilltop compound is the most hotly contested site in Jerusalem, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. Palestinian militants have warned of an uprising if the Jews try to enter the site.
Tensions rose on Saturday when Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinian youths in the southern Gaza Strip. Militants retaliated by firing mortar rounds and rockets at Jewish settlements and Israeli army bases.
Observers say a surge in violence could complicate Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to pull troops and settlers out of Gaza, and pose a new challenge to Mr. Sharon and President Bush when they meet Monday.