Israel permits 800 Gazans to pray at Al-Aqsa


Israel has decided to allow over 800 residents of the Gaza Strip to enter Jerusalem and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 13 or Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Destiny), the night on which Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammed.

Israeli Coordination and Liasons Office manager in the Gaza Strip, Fares Atela, said that the Israeli authorities had decided to allow the entry of 800 Gaza residents into Jerusalem in order to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. He added that during the days of Eid al-Fitr, the celebration at the end of Ramadan, a program would be implemented to allow 300 Gazans to visit their families in the West Bank, as well as to allow West Bank citizens to visit theirs in the Gaza Strip.

During Ramadan, Gaza residents have been intermittently granted permits to enter Jerusalem and pray at Al-Aqsa. On the second Friday of Ramadan, all permits were revoked after rocketfire was exchanged between Gaza and Israel.

Security has been tight at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound since the beginning of Ramadan, and tensions initially began to rise after a Palestinian youth was shot when he stabbed an Israeli policeman. Extremist settlers have also added fuel to the fire with multiple break ins at the site under the protection of Israeli special service units.

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