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Al-Aqsa Mosque reopened after 70 days of closure amid COVID-19

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Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem was opened on Sunday after 70 days of closing as part of precautionary and protective measures to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier in the day, thousands of Muslim worshipers prayed fajr prayer, wearing medical facemasks and using their own prayer rugs, according to Omar Kiswani, director of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We are insisting to protect our holy mosque at all times, especially when it besieged whether from a coronavirus pandemic or any other reason. It is an Islamic place for all Muslims,” said Kiswani, urging worshipers to keep social distancing.

Meanwhile, Ekrima Sabri, head of the Palestinian Higher Islamic Council and the preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque, called all people suffering from symptoms of illness not to attend and pray in the holy place.

Sabri said in a press statement sent to Xinhua that “I hope prayers will go smoothly, calmly and regularly, as well as all worshipers abide by our instructions to avoid the new virus.”

On the other hand, Palestinian security sources told Xinhua that dozens of settlers entered the mosque, hours after the opening, under heavy guards.

The sources added “the Israeli policemen arrested six Palestinians from the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque as settlers entered it.”

(XINHUA)

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