Thousands of Muslims performed dawn prayer today in al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest place, shortly after the Mosque was reopened to prayers following a 70-day shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mosque opened its doors to thousands of worshippers, who went inside cheerfully chanting in celebration of the reopening. All the buildings in the courtyards of the Mosque were opened to prayers to allow for the social distancing necessary to contain the spread of the virus.
A few days ago, the Islamic Waqf, in charge of running the Mosque’s affairs, sterilized the mosque and set instructions for the worshipers coming to pray there in order to adhere to health instructions and prevent overcrowding inside the buildings and courtyards.
Omar Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque said that “the patience of worshippers over the pandemic resulted in the return to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque after 70 days of closure,” adding that the Islamic Waqf Department has completed all its work to receive the worshipers who are committed to health instructions that must be maintained by everyone coming to the mosque.
Head of the Islamic Higher Council in occupied Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, called on everyone who suffers from health symptoms not to attend and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, hoping that the prayers will go smoothly, calmly, regularly.
In the meantime, around 75 Israeli settlers guarded by a police escort forced their way into the Mosque and performed a provocative tour. The police reportedly detained three Palestinians, including a young woman, who were praying at the courtyards of the Mosque.