Saturday, October 21, 2006

More than 250,000 Palestinians pray in the Aqsa Mosque despite unprecedented IOF security measures

"Occupied Jerusalem - More than 250,000 Palestinian citizens on Friday converged on the Aqsa Mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem to attend the Friday congregation despite the extraordinary security measures taken by the IOA to prevent them from doing so.

Hundreds of IOF troops and policemen were intensively deployed in and around the city, installing tens of barriers to ban Palestinians less than 45 years old from entering the Mosque.

Thousands of Palestinian citizens, mostly from the nearby Bethlehem and Al-Khalil cities among other West Bank cities, were reportedly denied entry to the Mosque and forced to return back, prompting them to perform their Friday prayers on roads and streets of the city.

IOA security measures were viewed as "unprecedented" as Israeli choppers were hovering over the heads in addition to spy aerostats and hundreds of spy cameras that were installed all over the Mosque to monitor every movement in and around the Mosque.

Khatib (preacher) of the Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Yousef Abu Sunaina condemned the IOA practices and the banning of pious Palestinians from offering their prayers in the Aqsa.

In his Khutba (sermon), Abu Sunaina urged the Palestinian people to frequent the Aqsa Mosque in big numbers, adding that such practice is the safety valve to protect the Mosque and preserve its purity against repeated Israeli attempts to desecrate it.

He further unveiled a number of attempts by Jewish groups to storm the Mosque and defile it last week, adding that such behavior "portrays the non-stop and serious Jewish attempts to harm the Aqsa Mosque".

Under the UN charter, freedom of religion is sanctioned; yet, the Hebrew state undermined that charter and suppressed Palestinian people's freedom of worship in the Aqsa Mosque and many other holy places in occupied Palestine."

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