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250 Palestinians travel from Gaza to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers

Saturday, October 8, 2016 15:43
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250 Palestinians travel from Gaza to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers
Oct. 7, 2016 11:40 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 7, 2016 2:13 P.M.)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — More than 200 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip
traveled to occupied East Jerusalem to attend Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa
Mosque, according to Palestinian liaison officials.

The officials told Ma’an that 250 Palestinian worshipers, all above the age
of 50, traveled to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing between the besieged
enclave and Israel to attend prayers, before immediately returning to the
Gaza Strip.

The visit came a week after weekly visitations were cancelled due to the
funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, which was held on the same
day as the scheduled visits of elderly Gazans to Al-Aqsa.

The number of Palestinians permitted to worship at Al-Aqsa was reduced by
Israel in recent weeks, as Israeli authorities have typically permitted 300
elderly Palestinians from the small Palestinian territory to travel to
Al-Aqsa every Friday.

A spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the
Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli
policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma’an at the time that
Israeli authorities decided to reduce the quota of permits for Palestinians
to travel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers as a result of Hamas and other
groups “choosing to use the crossing permits given to them illegally.”

The spokesperson added that the decision would continue to be reviewed “in
accordance with the conduct of the Palestinians and their choice to respect
the agreements with Israel.”


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