Waqf officials say Palestinian can return to al-Aqsa mosque

Jerusalem/PNN

Muslim leaders of al-Aqsa Mosque compound Jerusalem have given their approval, after their technicians could confirm the removal of the security installations, for Palestinians to re-enter the site, Al-Jazeera reports.

Officials of the Islamic Waqf authority, that administers the holy site, said on Thursday that Muslims can once again pray inside the mosque.

The first prayer is expected to take place today at around 13:00 GMT .

We will be able to offer prayers inside the compound,” an elder Waqf official said.

He further said “The Israeli occupation forces have been trying for decades to violate the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Now, you are living in the new era of victory. We totally appreciate the masses who have been gathering.”

Israel had erected railings, gates and scaffolding where cameras were mounted at the entrance to the holy site, claiming the measures were necessary for security after an attack on July 14.

Palestinians have protested against increased security, which they viewed as an encroachment of Israeli control over the holy site, and a form of collective punishment.

Instead of praying inside al-Aqsa, thousands worshipped in the streets.

They also demonstrated against the measures, often clashing with police. At least six Palestinians were killed in the violence and hundreds were injured.

Last Tuesday Israel removed metal detectors from the entrance.

The measures, which also saw Palestinian men under the age of 50 banned from Friday prayers, were imposed after the alleged attack almost two weeks ago at the compound, carried out by Palestinian gunmen who killed two Israeli security guards.

As workmen removed the extra security installations on Thursday, Palestinians gathered to celebrate, with whistling and constant horns from cars

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