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Hundreds of Gazans travel to Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque

June 3, 2016 10:09 A.M. (Updated: June 5, 2016 5:51 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- 300 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip travelled through the Erez crossing into Israel on Friday to attend prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, according to Palestinian sources.

According to officials at the liason office, the 300 worshipers who attended prayers were above the age of 50.

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 interrupted on a number of occasions for alleged security reasons and Jewish holidays.

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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