Occupation Regime Permit 7,000 Palestinians to Enter Al-Aqsa, Deny Thousands More
Israeli occupation authorities on Friday permitted Palestinian men above the age of 45 and women of all ages to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while Palestinian men between the ages of 35 and 45 were only allowed entrance if they held Israeli-issued permits to attend prayers on the first Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, Maan news agency reported.
Thousands of other Palestinians were prevented from crossing at checkpoints, which were sealed following a deadly attack in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Palestinian police spokesman Luay Irzeiqat told Maan that some 7,000 Palestinians were allowed entry into occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa until 10 am through the 300 checkpoint in northern Bethlehem.
Irzeiqat added that Palestinian police forces were deployed near the checkpoint in order to organize and guide the entry of Palestinians, while handing out hats to protect them from the heat.
Several Palestinians who were prevented entry into Jerusalem said they would not give up on performing Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as others stated they would perform the Friday prayers at Israeli military checkpoints.
The Israeli army announced a military closure on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, with the exception of humanitarian and medical cases. Gazans who had previously been allowed to go pray at Al-Aqsa saw their permits frozen for Ramadan.
However, an army spokesperson told Maan that Palestinians from the West Bank holding Israeli-issued permits would be allowed to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday despite the closure.