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250,000 pray at Masjid-ul-Aqsa on last Friday of Ramadan

Thousands of Muslim Palestinians access into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to pray the last Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan.

The yards of Al-Aqsa were packed with people who started arriving at the Mosque since the early Friday hours.

About 250,000 worshipers had prayed at Al-Aqsa on the last Friday of Ramadan, said Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, Director-General of Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs.

Israel, which deployed a large police force in and around East Jerusalem, allowed men over 50, children under 12 and women over 30 without permits, normally required to cross checkpoints and exit the territory.

“This Friday might be the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan and I want to spend it at the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said. “It might be my last chance to visit Jerusalem until next Ramadan.”

“It is the first time I visit Al-Aqsa Mosque, I can’t describe my feelings,” Saleem Shawwa, 60, from the city of Gaza told Anadolu Agency. “I wish I could spend more than one day inside Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray and read Quran.”

Sacred to Muslims, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque which represents the world’s third holiest site, the spot where Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) began his night Journey to heaven.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later takes possession of the holy city in 1980, asserting it as the unified capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move not at all recognized by the international community.