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Israel repeatedly forbids call to prayer because it 'annoys' settlers

Feb. 2, 2014 2:13 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 5, 2014 10:45 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces forbade the Islamic call for prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 49 times in the month of January because it "annoyed" Jewish settlers, according to an official from the Palestinian Authority ministry of endowments.

Director of the Hebron office of the ministry of endowments Sheikh Taysir Abu Sneinah said that Israeli forces in the old city of the occupied southern West Bank city have repeatedly banned the mosque from broadcasting the call to prayer.

The pretext, he said, was that the sound of the Islamic call to prayer annoys Israeli settlers performing Jewish rites in the part of the mosque known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs that has been take over by Israeli forces.

Abu Sneinah denounced what he called "abusive Israeli practices" against Palestinian places of worship.

Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli forces.

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed homes.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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