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Israel restricts entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Palestinians from West Bank

March 24, 2023 at 1:53 pm

Al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli authorities on Friday imposed restrictions on Palestinians from the Occupied West Bank on their entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark the first Friday prayer in the holy month of Ramadan, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu that Israeli forces were deployed at the checkpoints leading to East Jerusalem where Al-Aqsa Mosque is located. They checked their IDs and barred entry for many of them.

Palestinian Abdelaziz Al-As’ad, 60, told Anadolu that he tried to cross the Qalandia Israeli military checkpoint, northern Jerusalem, several times but the Israeli forces checked his ID and prevented him from entry under security prevention.

READ: Israel storms Palestinian cities ahead of Ramadan

“Israel claims that it provides facilities [to Palestinians] but in fact this is a lie; what is happening is a restriction on the movement and a prevention of worship,” Al-As’ad added.

On Monday, Israel announced various restrictions on Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan with regard to entering Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Women of all ages, male children up to 12 years old, and men over 55 years old will be allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan without a permit,” the coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alyan, said in a statement on Monday.

With regard to the Gaza Strip, according to the statement, Israel imposed a “limited quota” for women aged 50 and over, and men aged 55 or over, from Sunday to Thursday, to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Tension has been rising across the Occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns.

Nearly 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of this year, according to Palestinian figures. Fourteen Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period.

READ: Israel’s new cycles of forcibly displacing Palestinians