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Thousands attend prayers at Al-Aqsa

Aug. 12, 2011 2:59 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2011 11:49 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- More than 125,000 Palestinians came to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque for prayers on the second Friday of Ramadan, Israeli radio reported.

Over 24,000 West Bank Palestinians entered through Bethlehem's main checkpoint on Friday, the report said, noting the lack of clashes during the passage of worshipers.

Thousands of Israeli soldiers and security were stationed at the entrance of Jerusalem's Old City, the radio station said, adding that Palestinians were searched by security before permitted entrance to the Haram Ash-Sharif compound housing the mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Israel's permit system barred men aged under 45, and women under 30 years, from travel to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Foundation said that the Old City streets were jammed with thousands of Palestinians arriving for prayer in Jerusalem.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and emphasize charitable giving. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strive to access Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month.

Israel generally prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip access to East Jerusalem, annexed after its conquest in 1967, as well as Israeli territory as a result of the closure in effect since early 2000.
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