First Time, Over 20,000 Palestinians Perform Friday Prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al-Quds, MINA – More than 20,000 Palestinians held Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, the largest number since the start of the war on Gaza four months ago, Anadolu Agency reports.

“For the first time since the beginning of the war on Gaza, more than 20,000 worshippers were able to perform Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, despite Israeli restrictions,” an official from the Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem told Anadolu.

The usual attendance of worshippers on regular Fridays is over 50,000 worshippers; however, the number has largely declined since Israeli police have imposed limitations on worshippers’ entry to Al-Aqsa since the commencement of the war on Gaza on 7 October.

At the entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem and the outer gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli police erected barriers, preventing worshippers from reaching the Mosque.

Police forces were also deployed in the narrow alleys of the Old City, detaining young residents and preventing them from reaching Al-Aqsa, according to witnesses.

Israel has been imposing tight restrictions on worshippers since it launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas in which Israel says 1,200 Israelis were killed.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 27,947 Palestinians have been killed, including 12,000 children and 8,190 women, and 67,459 injured since 7 October, according to Palestinian health authorities.

The Israeli offensive has left 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

An interim ruling last month by the International Court of Justice told Israel to cease its abuses, but most international observers say it has been flouting the ruling. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)