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200 Gazans pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque

May 22, 2015 12:27 P.M. (Updated: May 22, 2015 4:40 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two hundred Palestinians above the age of 60 from the Gaza Strip headed to Jerusalem to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday morning, Palestinian liaison says.

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 trip comes as tensions continue around the compound.

Israeli right wingers and Israeli police officers reportedly assaulted Palestinian security guards on duty at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound early Tuesday, according to compound director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani.

One day prior, an Israeli police officer in the compound allegedly struck a Palestinian tour guide in the face following an argument.

On Sunday, 160 right-wing Jews entered the compound to mark the anniversary of Israel's seizure of occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, known by Israelis as "Jerusalem Day," a national holiday.

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.

Friday's worshipers will return to the Gaza Strip right after Friday prayers before the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza closes for the weekend.

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