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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 5th, 2014
06:04 PM ET

Police and controversy in the Old City of Jerusalem

By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper

Jerusalem (CNN) – The Old City of Jerusalem was on edge, just hours into a fragile cease-fire, and a day after the current bloodshed between Israel and Gaza spilled into Jerusalem, with two deadly events the Israeli police characterized as terrorist attacks.

Just feet from the Wailing Wall is the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

"This morning there were already disturbances," said Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. "Stones were thrown at our police officers, so they immediately responded. ... Also a Molotov cocktail was thrown at them, petrol bombs. So they had to quickly push them back."

On and off for the past few years, the Israeli police have banned some Muslims from praying here at Islam's third holiest site.

Resentment of this policy – and others – has resulted in many clashes in the past

"There were indications there were going to be disturbances, and therefore there was an age limit implemented. We only allowed men from the ages of 50 upward praying on the temple mount. Women of course of all ages (were allowed). But those security measures were absolutely critical to make sure that the tension was kept, and doesn't overflow," said Rosenfeld.

The two attacks yesterday in Jerusalem have officials concerned that the events down south in Gaza have opened up a new front here – a Palestinian killing an Israeli by toppling a bus, and an unknown gunman shooting an Israeli soldier.

"Hopefully after tomorrow, based on the security assessment, things will be back to normal, we'll have less security in and around the area in terms of police officers," said Rosenfeld.

But just minutes later, Rosenfeld got a phone call. There was another attack.

"We got confirmation of a stabbing incident. A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli security guard," he said.

The stabbing took place near an Israeli settlement – Ma'ale Adumim – on land that Palestinians say is theirs.

The sites here might be centuries old but Rosenfeld says the police are now aided by the modern technology of closed circuit TV cameras – more than 300 of them throughout the Old City.

"We have a lot of CCTV cameras that are watching every movement that takes place. Both around the western wall area, the temple mount, the holy sites," he said.

The images are broadcast inside the command center near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City.

"We've got 60 screens that are watching the sensitive areas in and around the Old City," he said.

But not everyone is so enthusiastic about the cameras. A businessman tells CNN the closed circuit technology helps crack down on crime against Jews, whom he calls settlers.

Asked if he feels safer with the cameras, he said no. "For us, I don't think so."

He said when he has made complaints about crimes against him by Jews, suddenly police said the cameras do not work.

"I hope there will be justice when they look at the camera," the businessman told CNN. "Even the police here say, they catch the Arab, they never catch the Israeli. Why?"

Rosenfeld says it's not true, but the businessman's complaint is not unique in a city marked by divisions and tensions.

The good news for Rosenfeld is that today in the old city was another day with no loss of life. And for now, that will have to be called a success.

CNN's Katie Hinman, Eric Marrapodi, and Kim Berryman contributed to this report.

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