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Palestinians banned from Al-Aqsa perform prayers at Lions Gate

March 8, 2019 2:46 P.M. (Updated: March 9, 2019 10:53 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians, who were banned entry into the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli authorities, performed Friday prayers at the Lions Gate, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, in rejection of their ban.

A Ma'an reporter said that dozens of Palestinians arrived at the Lions Gate after being banned from entry to the compound and began to perform prayers, as Israeli police forces surrounded them.

Sources added that banned Palestinians, including women and teens, said that being banned from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque will not keep them away from the mosque or the Old City.

Sheikh Raed Daana, who was banned by the Israeli authorities from entering the compound for six months, stressed “Israeli authorities are banning worshipers from performing prayers, from practicing our faith, they (Israel) are the ones carrying weapons and using force to prevent us from reaching Al-Aqsa.”

Daana also called upon Palestinians to head to Al-Aqsa to protect it from Israeli plans.

Tensions rose following an Israeli decision to reseal the al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy), one of the Al-Aqsa Mosque gates, and thousands of worshipers arriving to the gate to perform prayers in protest.

The controversy started after Israeli police forces sealed off the gate with locks and iron chains. In early February, which Palestinians condemned, calling for mass protests.

The al-Rahma Gate is a big building that lays to the east of the Al-Aqsa, the Israeli authorities sealed the building in 2003 as it was the headquarters of the Islamic Heritage Committee; Israel had said at the time that the building was being used for political activities. In 2017, an Israeli court ordered that the building be closed until a further notice.

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