Jerusalem’s Masjid-Al-Aqsa shut for three weeks amid surge in COVID cases

Jerusalem:  In wake of the surging COVID-19 cases Jerusalem’s Masjid-Al-Aqsa has shut its door for worshippers for the next three weeks, announced the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf on Wednesday.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf said that the Worshippers and visitors will not be received at the mosque as of Friday for a three-week period due to the virus outbreak, reports Anadolu Agency.

However, the prayers in the mosque would continue with the prayer calls, mosque guards and staff.

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Jordan is the custodian of the compound, known by Muslims as the Haram Al-Sharif, or Holy Sanctuary, and as the Temple Mount by Jews.

It is only the second time that the Islamic Endowments Department has decided to close the compound since Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Israel has previously blocked access to the site, which is a focus of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

The compound was closed at the onset of the pandemic in March, when sweeping closures upended religious life in a way not seen for centuries.

Israeli authorities have reported nearly 167,000 coronavirus cases, with 1,147 deaths.

In the occupied West Bank some 214 people have died from the virus and more than 30,200 cases have been registered by Palestinian authorities.

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