Friday, 14 November 2014

Thousands pray in Aqsa for 1st time in months

(Ma'an) -- Thousands of Palestinians were able to conduct Friday prayers for the first time in months in the al-Aqsa mosque after Israel lifted age restrictions that have kept most worshipers out for months and aggravated tensions across Jerusalem.

The courtyards of the Al-Aqsa mosque were filled with men, women, teenagers, and children as hundreds of families arrived at the mosque for prayer, celebrating their right to worship at the compound after months of frequent restrictions against all but the elderly.

The general director of the Jerusalem endowment, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, said that the number of worshipers reached between 35-40,000, despite the fact that Israeli security guards staffing the entrances still held the ID cards of hundreds who entered.

Locals told Ma'an that many worshipers received parking ticket fines of 100-250 shekels ($26-66) as they left the courtyard after prayers.

Despite the continued armed Israeli presence at the site, the third-holiest in Islam, a festive atmosphere prevailed. more


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