Thousands attend final Friday prayer of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque despite Israeli restrictions

Thousands attend final Friday prayer of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque despite Israeli restrictions

Heavy police presence at external gates, surroundings of holy site

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

JERUSAELM (AA) - Tens of thousands of Palestinian worshipers performed the last Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem, despite Israeli restrictions.

Around 120,000 Muslims performed the prayer, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director-general of the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem, told Anadolu.

Friday is also believed to be coinciding with Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny), the only night of the year when the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque remain open round the clock.

Laylat al-Qadr is the holiest night in Islam, when the Holy Quran was first revealed. It falls on one of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan.

A heavy contingent of Israeli police was deployed at the entrances, surroundings, and alleys of the city, as well as at the external gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel has restricted Palestinian worshippers’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque amid growing tensions across the occupied West Bank due to the Israeli army’s ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip following an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Al-Aqsa Mosque 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.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.


*Writing by Mohammad Sio in Istanbul

Thousands attend final Friday prayer of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque despite Israeli restrictions

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