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Hundreds of Gazans pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

May 27, 2016 9:50 A.M. (Updated: May 29, 2016 4:08 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Some 300 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip traveled to Jerusalem on Friday to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to a Palestinian official.

The group of Gazans, all above the age of 50, entered Israel via the Erez crossing, a Palestinian liaison official told Ma’an.

Israeli authorities generally restrict Erez crossing on Fridays to humanitarian and emergency cases while the crossing is closed on Saturday for the weekend.

While a ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip allotted weekly visitation by elderly Palestinians from Gaza to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa, the visits have since been frequently interrupted for alleged security reasons and Jewish holidays.

The weekly visits had resumed for just one week before a two-week suspension was enforced for the Jewish holiday of Passover, after Israel lifted a one-month ban in March due to allegations that Palestinians traveling for worship were not returning to the Gaza Strip on the same day of the visit, as the agreement stipulated, posing a “threat to security.”

The majority of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a near-decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.

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