Noon prayers outside the al Aqsa mosque (image from Middle East Eye)

In advance of the afternoon prayers on Friday, Israeli military forces agreed to temporarily lift restrictions preventing Muslims from praying at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third-holiest site in Islam. This followed a morning of clashes when Israeli troops prevented Palestinians and other worshipers from praying.

For the morning prayers Friday, Israeli authorities had imposed a restriction banning any men under fifty from praying at the mosque. This led to angry marches in which Palestinian worshipers tried to enter the mosque despite the Israeli restrictions. Israeli forces fired tear gas several times at those trying to get into the mosque for Friday prayers.

In addition, Israeli forces killed a man in Etzion, south of Bethlehem, who they allege tried to attack soldiers. Soldiers also killed a 16-year old boy who was participating in a protest in al-Boreij refugee camp in Gaza.

The lifting of the restrictions came after hundreds of Palestinians participated in civil disobedience Friday morning, conducting a sit-in at the entrance to the Mosque.

This Friday’s events followed two weeks of Israeli closures, restrictions and invasions of the Mosque, after a firefight that ended up on the Mosque grounds two Fridays ago.

According to Ma’an News Agency, Israeli authorities released 95 Palestinians Friday morning who had been detained in clashes Thursday night. Those released were banned from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque for two weeks. Those who were not residents of Jerusalem, they were banned from the entire city of Jerusalem for two weeks.