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Israel bans 9 Palestinian women from Al-Aqsa

Aug. 16, 2018 12:27 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 16, 2018 3:05 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities released, on Wednesday evening, nine Palestinian women on the condition of being banned from visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem for 15 days.

A Ma'an reporter in Jerusalem said that the Israeli authorities released nine out of ten women, who were detained earlier on Wednesday, while being present at the entrances of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in nearby areas.

The nine women were released on condition of being banned from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the next 15 days.

The women were identified as Nahida Abu Shaqra, 65, Salsabil Imara, Sajida Mahamid, Samah Mahamid, Suad Abu Shaqra, Nahida Mahajna, Ilaf Majahna, Mariam Asaila, and Nour Mahmid.

The remaining woman was kept in detention at the Jaffa Gate police station, without a given reason as to why she remained in detention.

Lawyer Khalid Zabarqa explained that the detained women had not committed any legal offenses, however were detained for being present near Al-Aqsa when Israeli settlers stormed the compound.

Zabarqa said that any Muslim has the right to be present in any area of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, stressing that it is an Islamic holy site, and Muslims should be able to freely exercise their right of religion in the compound.

He added that Israeli settlers' raids into Al-Aqsa compound are illegal and oppose religious and international laws. Zabarqa holds such raids responsible for the rising tensions at the mosque and generally in Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque; the third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Despite the agreement with Jordan -- which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa -- Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site, often under armed guard. Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site, and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions.
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