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Israel closes Al Aqsa Mosque compound to public

  • 17 Aug 2018

Israeli police closed all the Al Aqsa Mosque compound gates barring the public from entering, following an alleged knife attack .

Israeli police blocks the entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem on August 17, 2018. ( Reuters )

Israeli police on Friday closed the gates of Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem after an alleged knife attack.

Muslims were prevented from entering for the night prayer and began protesting at Tribe's Gate (Bab Al-Asbat).

The closure came after an alleged knife attack at the Al-Majlis gate.

Later, hundreds of Muslims, including many tourists, performed their evening prayer at the Al-Asbat gate of the compound after all the gates were blocked off.

There are a total of 15 gates leading to the Al Aqsa compound.

The compound, also known as Haram al Sharif, includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Thousands of Muslims from around the world flock to the site each year for religious tourism.

Israel has made closing these gates and the entrance to the mosque itself a regular occurrence, said Al-Aqsa Mosque director Sheik Omar Kiswani.

“These are very dangerous steps. It is obvious evidence of how dirty Israelis aim to close the Al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslim worship,” he said.

Kiswani said Arab and Muslim countries ignoring events around Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine were responsible for what happens there.

Israeli police closed Al-Aqsa twice in the past 30 days.

Israel army kills two protesters in Gaza   

Meanwhile, Israeli forces on Friday killed at least two Palestinians and injured 40 others near the security fence between the eastern Gaza and Israel, Gaza's Health Ministry official confirmed.

“Karim Abu Ftair, 30, was shot dead by Israeli forces near the eastern border of the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza,” Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.

Another 40 Palestinians were wounded by live bullets while 201 were suffocating after inhaling tear gas, he added.

Since "right of return" protests began on March 30, at least 162 Palestinians have been martyred -- along with thousands more injured -- by Israeli gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s draconian blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

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