Palestinian worshippers performed the last Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque despite Israeli restrictions, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“160,000 worshippers performed the fourth Friday prayer of the month of Ramadan in Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, Director-General of the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem, told Anadolu Agency.
Thousands of Israeli troops were deployed in East Jerusalem and in its Old City near Al-Aqsa.
Early on Friday, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces inside Al-Aqsa. Forty-two Palestinians were injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.
On Thursday, the Israeli authorities denied access to Al-Aqsa to Palestinians from the West Bank under the age of 40.
For many years, the prayers at Al-Aqsa have been restricted to East Jerusalem residents, the Arab areas in Israel and a limited number of West Bank Palestinians who obtain special permits, while the residents of the Gaza Strip are denied access altogether.
Al-Aqsa is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.