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Israel seals off Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshipers

Palestinians hold banners during a protest against Israeli restrictions on the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, occupied West Bank on 28 August 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians hold banners during a protest against Israeli restrictions on the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, occupied West Bank on 28 August 2017 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli forces sealed off the Ibrahimi Mosque in front of Muslim worshipers, on Monday, in preparation for Israeli settlers raid for the third day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Ma’an Agency reports.

Israeli forces were heavily deployed around the holy site.

The mosque, believed to be the burial place of the prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades.

The holy site was split into a synagogue — known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs — and a mosque after US-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994.

Since the split, Muslim worshipers have been denied access to the site during Jewish holidays and vice versa in an effort to prevent violence from erupting at the holy site.

Located in the centre of Hebron — one of the largest cities in the occupied West Bank — the Old City was also divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas at the time, known as H1 and H2.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

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