Israeli restrictions on Ramadan worship continue

Israeli restrictions on Ramadan worship continue

JERUSALEM: Tens of thousands of Palestinians lined up at West Bank checkpoints early on Friday morning, waiting to be granted access to the holy city of Jerusalem for prayer on the second Friday of Ramadan. Visits to the Noble Sanctuary, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem remain restricted. Pilgrims that made it through the West Bank separation fence were greeted by heavy Israeli military and police presence around the Old City, and had to pass through dozens of secondary checkpoints installed in the area. The secondary points double check documents of Palestinians heading for worship, preventing all men under 50 and women under 45 without special permits from entering the area. The policy of limiting Palestinian and Muslim access to the mosque was marked, as worshipers observed the anniversary of the torching of the mosque by an Australian ultra-orthodox Jewish man, who set the Minbar alight two years after Israeli forces occupied the eastern half of the city in 1967. The Al-Aqsa Foundation said Israeli forces had ramped up their presence at the Old City in the early hours of Friday morning, deploying thousands of personnel at the entrances to the Old City, and in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi Joz, At-Tur Silwan and Al-Musrara. The foundation said that 170 buses were rented to transport Palestinians from towns and cities inside Israel to the Friday service. On the first Friday of Ramadan, and estimated 100,000 worshipers attended the noon prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. AGENCIES

 
 
 
 
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