Palestinians perform their Friday prayers in the almost deserted   Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, after the   mosques were shut in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus,   March 20, 2020
Palestinians perform Friday prayers outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, after it was shut due to the coronavirus
Photo: AFP
Palestinians perform Friday prayers outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, after it was shut due to the coronavirus

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque to reopen next week

Waqf officials announce that worshipers would be permitted to return immediately after the month-long Ramadan holiday ends at weekend, after Muslim holy site has been shuttered since mid-March

Associated Press |
Published: 05.19.20 , 18:34
The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam, will reopen next week after the conclusion of a major holiday, following weeks of closure aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, authorities said Tuesday.
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  • The mosque sits atop the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the location of the two Jewish Biblical temples.
    Palestinians perform their Friday prayers in the almost deserted   Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, after the   mosques were shut in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus,   March 20, 2020 Palestinians perform their Friday prayers in the almost deserted   Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, after the   mosques were shut in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus,   March 20, 2020
    Palestinians perform Friday prayers outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, after it was shut due to the coronavirus
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Islamic endowment overseeing the site under Jordanian custodianship (Waqf) had taken the unprecedented step of closing it to worshippers in March as other major holy sites were shuttered across the Middle East.
    Waqf officials said that "in light of the relative decline of the spread of the virus" it would reopen the site to worshippers after the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which will begin this weekend and last for three days.
    "A mechanism and procedures regarding lifting the suspension" will be announced later, it added.
    חיטוי בהר הביתחיטוי בהר הבית
    Waqf custodians disinfecting the main prayer hall inside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem
    The raised esplanade is home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the iconic golden Dome of the Rock.
    Israel and the Palestinian Authority imposed sweeping lockdowns in mid-March aimed at containing the virus, limiting travel and public gatherings, and forcing nonessential businesses to close.
    A volunteer sprays hand sanitizer for a Palestinian man on his way   to perform Friday prayers in the nearly deserted Al-Aqsa mosque   compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 20 2020 A volunteer sprays hand sanitizer for a Palestinian man on his way   to perform Friday prayers in the nearly deserted Al-Aqsa mosque   compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, March 20 2020
    A masked volunteer sprays hand sanitizer for a Palestinian on his way to Friday prayers outside the shuttered Al-Aqsa mosque in March
    (Photo: AFP)
    Many of the restrictions have been lifted in recent weeks as the rate of new infections has declined.
    Israel has reported more than 16,600 cases and around 270 deaths, with more than 13,000 of the patients having recovered. The Palestinian Authority has reported around 390 cases and two fatalities, with around 340 people having recovered.

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