Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided Thursday not to restrict access of Muslim worshippers to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem despite "fears of a collapse." Earlier, Israeli police chiefs said they saw no reason to limit the number of Muslim worshippers to prayers on Friday, which will mark the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
On Wednesday, an Israeli paper reported Sharon had ordered to reduce the number of Muslim worshippers in the Aqsa Mosque from the usual 250,000 to only 50,000.
Ma’ariv said that Sharon issued his orders after Israeli “experts” said that the Marwani Mosque, which is underneath the holy Aqsa Mosque, could collapse due to the big numbers of worshippers.
It noted that the decision was taken during a special cabinet session held on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
Ma’ariv said that police were planning the complete isolation of Jerusalem through blocking all of its entrances.
Meanwhile, Islamic Awkaf in Jerusalem denied the Israeli claims on a possible disaster in the event the Marwani Mosque collapsed over the head of worshippers.
Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, director and Khatib of the Aqsa Mosque, said that the "Zionist rumors were baseless," adding that the entire Haram Al-Sharif would be open for worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan.
The Israeli campaign was part of the attempts to control the holy site, he said, adding that maintenance works were geared up before the holy month and that the Haram was ready to receive worshippers. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )