Ramallah: Palestinian authorities have condemned Israel’s decision to close the ancient Ibrahimi Mosque site in the southern West Bank city of Hebron for 10 days.
Mahmoud al-Habbash, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on religious affairs and Islamic relations, said in a statement on Friday that Israel’s closure of the mosque is a “war crime”, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Banning Muslim worshipers’ access to pray at the mosque could fuel the sentiments of Muslims around the world,” al-Habbash said, adding that it is an interference into the powers of al-Waqf department.
The Ministry of the Palestinian al-Waqf is in charge of the holy sites, mainly mosques in the Palestinian territories.
Israeli media had earlier reported that the authorities in Jewish state has decided to close the mosque for 10 days as part of the precautionary measures to combat the Covid-19 spread in Hebron.
Director of Ibrahimi Mosque Hefzi Abu Sneineh said: “Israel’s pretext was baseless since all worshipers and visitors have been following up the health and safety protocols of wearing face masks and social distancing.”
The Ibrahimi Mosque site also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs is a series of caves, which ccording to the Abrahamic religions, were purchased by Abraham as a burial plot.
A large rectangular enclosure over the cave was converted into the Ibrahimi Mosque in the 12th century.
Israel took over the site in 1967, dividing it into a synagogue and a mosque.