IQNA

9:39 - January 16, 2021
News ID: 3473708
TEHRAN (IQNA) – A limited number of Palestinian could perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

 

Israeli police blocked most 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 Hazem Qassem 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 al-Quds, 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.

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