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Dozens of Gazans to pray in Aqsa mosque

May 15, 2015 1:15 P.M. (Updated: May 15, 2015 1:15 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians over 60 years of age headed from the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Friday, a Palestinian liaison official said.

The 180 worshipers left the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing early Friday, and headed towards the Al-Aqsa compound.

Weekly access to the Al-Aqsa mosque by Gazans has become routine since October 2014 when some 500 Palestinians in Gaza prayed at the mosque for the first time since 2007, having been prevented by Israel from traveling to Jerusalem since that time.

Friday's weekly trip for worshipers from Gaza come as Palestinians face regular restrictions at the holy site, with at least 10 individuals banned from the site and several others detained last month.

Despite an agreement between Israel and the Islamic endowment since 1967 that prohibits non-Muslim prayer in the compound, Jewish Israeli groups frequent the site under the armed protection of Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court last week allowed Jewish right-wing activist Yehuda Glick to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque compound once a month, ending his barring from the site since August last year.

Last week right wing Jewish activist Yehuda Glick was allowed by Jerusalem's Magistrate Court to begin entering the Al-Aqsa compound once a month. Glick, who came to prominence for leading groups of rightists into the mosque compound to worship, was previously barred from the site since August of last year after attacking a Palestinian woman.

The decision to allow Gazans to travel to Al-Aqsa was reached as part of the August ceasefire deal between Palestinian militant groups and Israel that ended the more than 50-day war last summer.  The agreement has for the most part been upheld, barring occasional delays due to Israeli national holidays or alleged security concerns.

Palestinian liaison added that the 180 worshipers are expected to return to the Gaza Strip Friday afternoon, following prayers.
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