Al-Aqsa worshippers attended Friday prayers
60,000 worshippers attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque
About 60,000 Palestinians performed the second Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director general of the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem, told Anadolu Agency that the number, though big, is still less than the usual number at this time of the Muslim fasting month.
Last Friday, the attendance was higher at around 80,000 people.
The mass attendance of worshippers comes amid tight Israeli security measures.
The heavy presence of Israeli police was seen at the entrances, surroundings and alleys of the Old City in Jerusalem, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent on the ground.
The Israeli authorities prevented male Palestinians under the age of 50 from the West Bank, and all Gazans from reaching the mosque to perform prayers.
Today’s prayers continued despite clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the mosque after dawn prayers as the former stormed the mosque’s courtyards that left 153 Palestinians injured.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Authority said 400 Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli police following the clashes.
Fadi al-Hadmi, minister of Jerusalem affairs, condemned in a statement the Israeli police’s storming of the mosque, saying they will bear “full responsibility” for repercussions of it.
The Israeli police, for its part, released a statement, blaming those it described as “violent rioters” for the clashes and said whose “main goal was to harm the security forces.”
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