Over 1.60L Palestinians perform last Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa amid restrictions

Jerusalem: More than 160,000 people performed the fourth and last Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramzan, in the precincts of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) reported.

The Friday prayers took place despite a heavy Israeli security presence and a raid on the mosque earlier in the day which left dozens injured.

Thousands of worshipers flocked from the West Bank on Friday morning to Jerusalem to perform the last Friday prayers of Ramzan, through the Israeli crossings, the Qalandia crossing (north of Jerusalem), and Bethlehem (south) witnessed a great turnout and crowding.

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At the Qalandia checkpoint, north of occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli forces assaulted a number of young men who tried to enter the city to perform the last Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa and then arrested them.

Following the prayers, a demonstration took place within the mosque courtyard, with protesters raising Hamas flags.

Earlier, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that 42 Palestinians were injured when Israeli security forces stormed the Al Aqsa Mosque after dawn prayers.

Israeli restrictions

As per the media reports, Israeli authorities prevented Palestinians (males) between the ages of 12 and 40, from the West Bank, from entering occupied East Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers, while requiring those between the ages of 40 and 50 to obtain a special entry permit.

While it allows men over the age of 50 and women of all ages to pray at Al-Aqsa, it is required that they cross the crossings leading to Jerusalem on foot, and their vehicles are not allowed to enter the city.

Israel also prevents all residents of the Gaza Strip from praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

During the last two weeks of Ramzan, about 300 Palestinians were injured in the Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It is noteworthy that, since 2003, the occupation authorities have allowed settlers to unilaterally storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque, every day except on Fridays and Saturdays, and in the morning and afternoon shifts.

Since the beginning of the month of Ramzan, tensions have escalated between the Palestinians, following the settlers’ storming of Al Aqsa Mosque. Calls to perform Jewish rituals and slaughter offerings in it, coinciding with the Jewish Passover, last week, were also issued.

The occupied West Bank has also witnessed tension between Palestinian demonstrators and the occupation forces, since the beginning of April, which has resulted in the killing of 19 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

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