AL-QUDS – After its first closure in decades, Israel reopened Al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of Friday prayer, October 31, imposing restrictions on male Muslim worshippers under 50.
“Israeli crimes are systematically increasing to target Jerusalem through killing, detentions, assaults, demolishing houses, and preventing worshipers from praying inside the compounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque,” the secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, told Ma’an
Israel reopened Al-Aqsa mosque on Friday, a day after the closure of the holy site for the first time since 1967.
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The Israeli closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound followed incidents in which extremist Jewish rabbi Yehuda Glick was injured in a drive-by shooting in Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem) late Wednesday.
Yehuda Glick is an American-born Israeli and the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, an extremist Jewish organization focused on “strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Temple Mount.”
Later on Thursday, Israeli police announced killing Moataz Hejazi, 32, a Palestinian who had spent 11 years in an Israeli jail and was released in 2012.
“They took him upstairs and then they shot him” Hejazi’s cousin told BBC.
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the Islamic incident of Al Isra’a and Al Mi’raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).
Jordan has been supervising Al-Aqsa Mosque and other endowments in Al-Quds since 1948.
Thursday’s closure of Al-Aqsa mosque was widely condemned by Arab and Western leaders.
A spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas considered the full day closure of Al-Aqsa as a “declaration of war”.
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Calling for reopening Al-Aqda compound for Muslim worshipper, the US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We’re extremely concerned by escalating tensions across Jerusalem and particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif, Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque].”
“It is actually critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa mosque] in word and in practice,” Psaki added.
Meanwhile, the Fatah movement in the occupied Jerusalem called for a day of range on Friday over the killing of Hijazi by the Israeli police, whose funeral was held amid heavy security presence on Thursday, October 30.
Deeming it an “act of terrorism”, Fatah leaders said that Hijazi was denied the right of defense, shot without a proof after being accused of killing the extremist Jewish rabbi Glick.
Israel occupied the holy city of Al-Quds, the West Bank and Golan Heights in the 1967 war and later annexed them in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of Al-Quds, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements.
Sweden officially recognized the state of Palestine on Thursday, the first EU country in Western Europe to do so, reflecting growing international exasperation over the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process.