Palestine

Gazans pray at Aqsa Mosque for 1st time since 2007

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Around 500 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip on Sunday en route to occupied East Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time since 2007.

Israel has allowed 500 Gazans to pray at the holy site as part of “facilities” offered to Palestinians during the Muslim Eid al-Adha feast, which started on Saturday.

A source in the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry had earlier told Anadolu Agency that Israel would allow 500 residents of the Gaza Strip to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for three days starting Sunday.

Ever since Hamas – which Israel deems a “terrorist” organization – won 2006 Palestinian legislative polls, Israel has imposed a tight land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israel tightened the blockade on Gaza further after Hamas wrested control of the enclave from the rival Fatah movement one year later.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site.

Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.

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