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Ramadan prayer at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa under the shadow of Gaza war

Jerusalem – Muslims worshippers flocked to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound for the 2nd Friday prayer of Ramadan less than the weighty existence of Israeli law enforcement, a signal of lurking tensions in the holy city.

“We come to feel lucky to be at Al-Aqsa when hundreds of thousands are deprived of obtain to it,” claimed Mustafa al-Sheikh, a 62-year-aged Palestinian who travelled with his wife from Anata, a town near Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

The few ended up amongst about 180,000 persons who prayed on Friday at the mosque compound, in accordance to the religious body that administers the historically delicate web-site in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

“The prayer went efficiently and peacefully,” Azzamal-Khatib, head of the Waqf Islamic affairs council, told AFP.

The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is Islam’s 3rd holiest site and Judaism’s most sacred, regarded to Jews as the Temple Mount. It is also a repeated source of tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which have soared this 12 months as war rages in the Gaza Strip.

In earlier decades, violence flared around Al-Aqsa for the duration of the Muslim fasting thirty day period of Ramadan, with Palestinians accusing Israel of increasingly limiting accessibility to the website.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers ended up deployed to the area bordering the compound on Friday, some of them closely armed, in aspect to implement age limits imposed on West Bank Palestinians.

Israel has stated only men aged 55 and more than and women of all ages older than 50 would be authorized to enter from the territory.

But for quite a few, just reaching Jerusalem from other sections of the West Financial institution, dotted with Israeli checkpoints, could be a tough feat.

Zainab Ramadan Freij, a 70-year-outdated resident of the northern West Bank’s Tulkarem refugee camp, claimed she experienced to just take a bus at 6:30 am from to make it to Jerusalem — just in excess of 60 kilometres (40 miles) absent — in time for the midday prayer.

At the time inside the compound, worshippers rejoiced and took shots on Al-Aqsa’s iconic rock stairs.

“My pal Lina has been in The united states for 20 many years. I want to send her these pictures simply because she enjoys Al-Aqsa and misses it,” stated Rabab Hadiya, a 49-yr-aged instructor from Jerusalem.

Just two months ago, mass prayers at the compound finished in clashes in between Palestinians and Israeli forces, but so far Ramadan has handed with no any important incident.

– Prayers for Gaza –

Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at Israeli believe-tank the Institute for Nationwide Security Scientific studies, attributed the relative relaxed to quite a few policy conclusions.

Officers had been told to be specially mindful and law enforcement have been checking social media for incitement, Michael advised AFP.

He also mentioned Key Minister Benjamin Netanyahu experienced reined in the firebrand Israeli minister overseeing the law enforcement power, who had proposed barring all West Financial institution people from the revered mosque.

“Netanyahu himself intervened” to strip National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir of his “authority on the challenge of Palestinians’ accessibility to Al-Aqsa in the course of Ramadan”, Michael mentioned.

In his sermon, the preacher spoke of Palestinians suffering starvation in the war-battered Gaza Strip.

“Do not overlook and keep in mind your brothers in Gaza who sleep devoid of foods in a tent or in a ruined house”, he said.

This concept resonated with 69-calendar year-old Mohammad Abu Arar, whose wife’s loved ones in Gaza are presently sheltering in tents in the far-southern town of Rafah.

“We pray for our people there to be protected and for the war to close peacefully, from the most sacred put for us,” said Abu Arar.

Israel’s army campaign from Hamas has killed at minimum 32,070 people today in Gaza, most of them females and children, in accordance to the Hamas-dominated territory’s wellness ministry.

It was brought on by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people today, largely civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Worldwide mediators experienced aimed for a new truce before Ramadan, but much more than two weeks into the holy month and just about six months into the war, no agreement has been attained.