ISRAEL IMPOSES RESTRICTIONS AROUND AL-AQSA AHEAD OF JEWISH HOLIDAYS

Muslim Worshippers performing dawn prayer outside al-Aqsa gates. (Photo: Ma'an)
Muslim Worshippers performing dawn prayer outside al-Aqsa gates. (Photo: Ma’an)

Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem), 29 Dzulqa’dah 1435/24 September 2014 (MINA) – Israeli occupation police on Tuesday morning deployed heavily at all gates of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound imposing restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshipers ahead of the Jewish New Year.

A Ma’an reporter in the holy city said Israeli police denied Palestinian men aged under 45 and all women entry to the mosque. Women and men under 45 had to perform dawn prayer in the streets outside the compound, she added.

In addition, police kept all gates closed except the Chain gate and the Council gate where police officers deployed heavily and scrutinized ID cards of worshipers, Ma’an News Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

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Dozens of young men and women who were barred from al-Aqsa gathered outside the gates and chanted slogans denouncing Israeli police procedures and affirming it was their right to access the holy place.

Director of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian ministry of endowment Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib told Ma’an that Tuesday’s closures of the compound were in preparation for Jewish holidays.

He said Knesset member Miri Regev from the Likud party who chairs the Knesset’s interior and security committee had asked the police to prepare the grounds for visits by Jews during holidays.

“We expect very difficult days in al-Aqsa during the upcoming Jewish holidays,” al-Khatib said.

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Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.(T/R05/P3)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)