Israel has prevented hundreds of Palestinians from crossing a key checkpoint into al-Quds (Jerusalem), where they planned to hold Friday prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the International Quds Day.
Thousands of Muslims were expected to hold prayers at the mosque on Friday.
On Thursday, however, Tel Aviv had subjected Palestinians to severe age restrictions, obligating Israeli forces to require entry permits from women aged between 16 and 30 and men of 30 to 50 years of age to let them cross Checkpoint 300, located in northern Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, into al-Quds, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.
Only children under 12, men above 50, and women above 30 were, thus, allowed to cross without permits.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flashpoint Islamic site, also holy to the Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third-holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
Security measures were visible in al-Quds for the last Friday in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, designated by the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini as the International Quds Day.
Each year, millions of people around the world stage rallies on the day to voice their support for the Palestinian nation and repeat their call for an end to the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities and occupation of the Palestinian territories.