Jerusalem (QNN) – Thousands of Palestinian Muslim worshippers entered Bab al-Rahma section of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem on Friday for the first time since it was closed to Muslim worshipping by Israeli occupation authorities in 2003.
Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, as well as other religious leaders led the worshippers shortly before the Friday prayer as they removed an Israeli-installed gate leading to the area, and finally held Friday prayer at the site for the first time in 16 years, in conjunction with the other sections of the holy compound.
As they worshipers were entering the closed area, they chanted religious and national slogans and mounted the flag of Palestine to show triumph at the reopening of the area, which has only been open during the past 16 years to Jewish fanatics during provocative visits to the Muslim holy place, the third holiest site in Islam.
The Islamic Waqf department, in charge of holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, said over 60 thousand worshippers from occupied Jerusalem and the Palestinian towns in Israel were able to perform Friday prayer inside the holy Mosque today despite Israel’s restrictions.
Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, who led the Friday sermon and prayer, confirmed that Bab al-Rahmeh was part and parcel of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and called on Israeli occupation forces not to interfere in the affairs of the Mosque.
Last week, Palestinians removed a metal gate Israeli police had placed at the entrance to Bab al-Rahmeh and held prayers in the area, but were not yet able to enter the area closed.
Palestinians were fearing that Israel was planning to turn that area into a Jewish temple in the heart of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after Jewish fanatics were seen in recent days and weeks holding religious rituals in that area under Israeli police protection.