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Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem Reopens

Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem Reopens

Sunday, 31 May, 2020 - 05:00
A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem's Old City on March 15, 2020. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound reopened on Sunday after being closed for more than two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Worshippers in protective masks were allowed to enter the compound in the early hours, ahead of the first prayers of the day.

The group was welcomed by the mosque's director Omar al-Kiswani, who thanked them for their patience.

The Council of Islamic Waqf cited the slowed local spread of COVID-19 in lifting entry restrictions and reopening the compound's iconic shrines, which shut on March 15.

Worshippers must wear face masks and bring personal prayer rugs should they wish to pray inside the shrines or on the compound's outdoor grounds, the council said in a statement.

The council did not say if there would be a limit on the number of people allowed in the 35-acre compound.

The compound houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, both of which were opened Sunday.

With the number of COVID-19 cases declining, in recent days both Israel and the Palestinian territories have eased restrictions.

There have been 17,000 coronavirus cases and 284 deaths in Israel, and 386 cases and three deaths in the occupied West Bank.

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