Israeli Police Prevents Dawn Prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque

JERUSALEM, May 13, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli police Friday prevented Muslim worshippers from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque inside the Old City of Jerusalem to perform dawn prayers forcing them to hold the prayers outside the city wall, according to local residents.

They said the police, which had set up checkpoints outside the gates to the Old City and to Al-Aqsa Mosque since late Thursday night, prevented Muslim males under 45 years of age from entering the Old City or the Mosque compound. Women of all ages were allowed to enter freely.

Police watched as dozens of Muslims who were not allowed to enter the Old City prayed in open space outside the gates. At one point, residents trying to cross the checkpoints clashed with police, said witnesses.

The Israeli authorities said it will restrict entry of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque for the Friday noon prayers in anticipation of protests that may break out following the prayers heeding calls to mark 63 years since the Nakba when Palestinians were forced to leave their homes in Palestine and Israel was created.

M.A.

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