Israel impedes access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Friday prayers held on Jerusalem streets

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Dozens of Palestinian Muslims performed Friday prayers in the streets near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, as Israel maintained a heavy security presence.

According to some worshipers, since the first Friday after the deadly October 7 attacks in Israel, police were only permitting certain older men, women, and children to enter the compound for prayers.

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The mosque sits in a hilltop compound sacred to both Jews and Muslims, and conflicting claims over it have spilled into violence before.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam and stands in a spot known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism.

The Israel-Hamas war erupted after the Hamas militant group raided southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1200 people and taking some 240 hostages.

Israel has vowed to dismantle Hamas — which is still putting up stiff resistance — and bring back more than 100 hostages still being held by the militants.

The war has already killed over 20,000 Palestinians and driven around 85 percent of the population of 2.3 million from their homes.

Much of northern Gaza has been levelled, and it has been largely depopulated and isolated from the rest of the territory for weeks.

Many fear a similar fate awaits the south as Israel expands its offensive to most of the tiny enclave.

Read more:

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Jerusalem’s Old City: Silent streets, struggling businesses as war rages

‘Exhausted’ Gazans desperate for war to end as Israel continues to bomb relentlessly

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