ERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A group of Palestinian worshipers performed Friday prayers at the Lion’s Gate outside the walls to the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem, in protest of the Israeli ban against them, preventing them from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque for prayers.
The Jerusalemites, mostly young men, were previously banned from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli authorities for time periods ranging between one to six months, for various reasons.
Israeli forces deployed in the area during the prayer and detained two youths identified as Hamza Milhis and Muhammad al-Shalabi for allegedly being banned from approaching the gates of Al-Aqsa, despite locals’ claims that the original orders issued against them did not ban them from approaching the gates.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
An employee of the Islamic Waqf, the organization in charge of managing the affairs of the compound, Tariq al-Hashlamoun, who was banned from entering the mosque for six months, told Ma’an that the worshipers prayed to show Israeli authorities that even if they are banned from entering Al-Aqsa mosque, they will pray at the gates of the mosque.
Jerusalemite Thaer Abu Sbeih, who was banned from entering al-Aqsa mosque for 6 months, said that Israeli authorities have banned him from entering al-Aqsa mosque seven consecutive times, for periods between three to six months.
Abu Sbeih told Ma’an that the bans “increase our love and determination for Al-Aqsa mosque,” as he called upon all Palestinians who are allowed to access the holy site to “reinforce their presence and visits to al-Aqsa mosque.”
Head of Jerusalemites prisoners’ families committee Amjad Abu Asab said that an Israeli order was recently issued against him, banning him from entering Al-Aqsa for a month, adding that Israeli authorities have enacted the bans “as a punitive procedure against Jerusalemites.”