Arab News reports that the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem will be closed from Friday due to a surge in coronavirus cases. The announcement was made by the authority that administers the city’s Muslim holy places.
The Waqf authority held an emergency meeting with health officials, concerning the rise in cases in the Palestinian territories, who then decided to “suspend the entry of worshippers starting from Friday afternoon (September 18) for a period of three weeks.” Arab News reports that the closure coincides with a three-week lockdown imposed by Israel, which controls the entrances to the compound.
Nevertheless, the call to prayer will continue to ring out across Jerusalem’s Old City, and Waqf employees will be allowed to pray at the site.
According to Arab News the Waqf had shut the compound at the onset of the pandemic in March for the first time since the Israeli occupation. Friday’s closure will be the second.
Umm Muhammed Umar