Al Quds, 19 Dzulhijjah 1436/3 October 2015 (MINA) – Palestinians performed Friday prayers across the streets of occupied East Jerusalem as Israel banned those under the age of 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Jewish Sukkot holiday.
Israeli authorities deployed special forces, police, border guards and intelligence across the streets of East Jerusalem and throughout the Old City, witnesses said.
Palestinians prayed at gates in Jerusalem’s Old City near to the compound as well as in the neighboring Wadi al-Joz neighborhood.
At the Lions Gate, witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces suppressed worshipers by using pepper spray and firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets, Maan News Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
At the Chain Gate, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail and took him to a detention center for interrogation, witnesses added.
An Israeli police spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment.
Restrictions to the holy site have been imposed by Israeli authorities on Palestinians for several days this week, as right-wing Israeli groups tour the compound for the Sukkot holiday.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs Al-Aqsa, told Ma’an on Wednesday,”Al-Aqsa has become a detention center and not a mosque.
It has been turned into a military barrack, it has been surrounded by soldiers for four days.”
As thousands of Jewish Israelis come to the holy city for the holiday, surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods have seen nightly detention raids and road closures by Israeli forces.
Earlier this week, locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the Palestinian village of Shufat, removing Palestinian flags flying from homes and stores and threatening to impose fines on anyone who raised the flag across Jerusalem.
Restrictions on Palestinian access to Al-Aqsa and the crackdown across East Jerusalem has sparked waves of demonstrations in recent weeks across the occupied West Bank, which is currently under lock down after two Israeli settlers were killed Thursday. (T/Imt/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)