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Israel bans Islamist party for 'inciting violence'

Israel's government has banned an Islamist party, saying it has been inciting violence among Israeli Arabs over the past two months.

The government declared the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement of Israel illegal, saying its activists could be arrested if they disobeyed the ban.

The party, which provides religious and educational services for Israeli Arabs, routinely accuses the Jewish state of trying to take over a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, a claim Israel denies.

The site is at the heart of the current round of violence, which erupted in mid-September and spread to the West Bank, Israeli cities and the Gaza border.

Israel says the violence is the result of incitement. The Palestinians say it stems from frustration over nearly half a century of Israeli occupation.

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