US urges restraint in Jerusalem after shooting of hardline rabbi Yehuda Glick

Israeli border policemen prevent Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem on Oct 30, 2014 after Israeli authorities temporarily closed it. -- PHOTO: AFP
Israeli border policemen prevent Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem on Oct 30, 2014 after Israeli authorities temporarily closed it. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States on Thursday urged all sides in Jerusalem to exercise restraint amid spiralling tensions in the holy city, and said it was working with Israelis, Palestinian and Jordanians to try to restore calm.

Secretary of State John Kerry also condemned the shooting of hardline rabbi Yehuda Glick, who holds both Israeli and US citizenship.

Kerry called for the reopening of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem to Muslim worshippers as police said the compound would open early Friday for dawn prayers.

"I am extremely concerned by escalating tensions across Jerusalem and particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount," Kerry said in a statement.

"It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount - in word and in practice."

Kerry said he was in close contact with Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders to try to de-escalate the situation.

"I urge the leaders of all three parties to exercise decisive leadership and work cooperatively together to lower tensions and discourage violence," he said.

State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said earlier Kerry was expected to be in touch with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the next 24 hours.