JERUSALEM: Israeli security forces stopped young Palestinians from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, requiring them to say prayers outside Jerusalem’s Old City, before letting several thousand elder worshippers enter under continued tight curbs.
The authority in charge, the Jerusalem Islamic Endowments Department, said 5,000 worshippers performed Friday prayers at the holy site. That compares to about 50,000 on average prior to the conflict.
Large numbers of Israeli police kept guard around Al-Aqsa on a hill known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif or The Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Har ha-Bayit or Temple Mount.
Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the streets of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where some expressed support for Hamas.
The crowd chanted slogans including: “liberate Gaza” and “the people want the Al-Qassam Brigades” in reference to Hamas’s armed wing. Others waved Hamas flags along with banners representing a range of Palestinian movements.
Fakhi Barghouti, 80, said Palestinians in the West Bank “need to do more about the war in Gaza.”
Several people refused to answer AFP’s questions, believing that Western and particularly French media coverage of the war was “biased.”
The demonstration came just hours after Israeli forces killed at least four Palestinians during a dawn raid in the north of the occupied West Bank, with Hamas members among the dead. Over 100 people have been killed and more than 1,900 injured in the West Bank during the current conflict.
Source: Arab News