Palestinian sources reported that Israel increased its military presence around Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Haram Al-Sharif area, also known as the Temple Mount, in the old city of Jerusalem on Friday. The sources added that around 3000 Israeli troops and police are preventing Muslim worshippers from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque area.
Worshipers, however, decided to challenge the Israeli procedures and are trying to find other ways to enter the Mosque for the Friday prayer.
Al-Aqsa Mosque’s guards confirmed that the Israeli police are prohibiting anyone under the age of 50 from entering the mosque, and that the Israeli forces prohibited Palestinian politician Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi from entering the mosque’s esplanade, the Maan News Agency reported.
Initial reports said that Israeli police have arrested at least fifteen Palestinians in Jerusalem today.
Ahmad Hussein, Sheikh of Al-Aqsa Mosque, described the Israeli procedures as a violation of the freedom of religion and worship.
Meanwhile, Israel continued the digging around Bab Al-Maghareba (the Moroccan’s Gate) near the Mosque, which started over a week ago.
While Israel says the work will not affect the Aqsa Mosque, Muslims around the world do not trust Israel’s claims due to past experiences related to digging a tunnel and excavations under the Aqsa Mosque. These actions endangered the foundations of the Mosque, one of the most important Holy Sites for Muslims.