Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque to reopen on Sunday

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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — The Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem will reopen on Sunday after a two-month closure due to the novel coronavirus, a senior official said on Wednesday.

“All the doors of the Al Aqsa Mosque [compound] will be opened at dawn on Sunday,” Omar Al Kiswani, the mosque’s director, told AFP.
Details of the reopening have not yet been finalised, including whether the mosques on the site will be opened to worshippers or if the public will only be allowed into the courtyard where the faithful also pray.

The compound closed its doors in March as part of measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Religious sites in Jerusalem began to reopen in recent days as the reported number of new cases declined, but the Al Aqsa Mosque compound remained shut during the Eid Al Fitr festival that began on March 24 for most Muslims and marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The site has often been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is the third holiest site in Islam and where Muslims believe Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.

Palestinian authorities have confirmed fewer than 500 cases in the West Bank and Gaza, which have a combined population of more than 4.5 million.

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