Israel Bans Worshipers From Entering Al-Aqsa Mosque

Published January 16th, 2021 - 07:34 GMT
A general view taken on January 15, 2021 from the Mount of Olives shows Jerusalem's Old City with the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa mosque compound. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP
A general view taken on January 15, 2021 from the Mount of Olives shows Jerusalem's Old City with the Dome of the Rock in the al-Aqsa mosque compound. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP
Highlights
Hamas, Islamic Jihad movement decry exclusion of Palestinians from Haram al-Sharif for Friday prayers.

Only a limited number of people performed Friday prayers at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem amid strict coronavirus measures imposed by the Israeli government. 

Israeli police blocked Palestinians from reaching Haram al-Sharif to perform Friday prayers.

They stopped worshipers at checkpoints at entrances to the Old City under the pretext of the struggle against COVID-19.

Security forces allowed only those who live in the Old City to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque.

After being prevented from reaching the mosque, the Palestinians performed Friday prayers near the walls of the Old City.

In his Friday sermon, Imam Yusuf Abu Sneina, the Al-Aqsa sheikh, denounced the worshipers being blocked from reaching the mosque.


Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasim told Anadolu Agency that the recent move can be seen as part of Israeli plans to Judaize Jerusalem and destroy the Palestinian Arab identity.

“Israel is taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to serve its hostile plans against the Palestinians,” said Islamic Jihad movement spokesman Dawoud Shihab.

On Jan. 7, Israel’s government imposed a two-week national lockdown.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. In 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community, Israel annexed the entire city, claiming it as the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s “eternal and undivided” capital.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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