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Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa to reopen as coronavirus measures relax

Worshippers will be allowed to return to al-Aqsa [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 May, 2020

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Al-Aqsa Mosque will reopen on Sunday as coronavirus measures relax.

The Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem will re-open Sunday after a two-month closure due to the novel coronavirus, a senior official said 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 of the mosque have not yet been finalised, including whether the site will be opened to worshippers or if the public will only be allowed into the courtyard outside.

The compound, located in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, closed its doors in March as part of measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Religious sites in Jerusalem began to re-open 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 24 March for most Muslims and marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Scuffles broke out between Israeli police and Palestinians on the first day of Eid as worshippers tried to break through barriers to enter the compound.

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

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

Meanwhile, Bethlehem's Church of Nativity and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron opened on Tuesday.

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