On the first Friday of Ramadan… security measures and restrictions around Al-Aqsa

The Palestinian Wafa News Agency reported on Friday that Israeli forces “prevented thousands of worshipers” from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the first Friday prayer in the month of Ramadan, while Israel confirmed that it had deployed thousands of police officers around the area “on high alert.”

Wafa quoted eyewitnesses as saying that Israeli forces “deployed widely around the Qalandiya checkpoints north of Jerusalem, Zaytouna to the east, and Bethlehem to the south, and returned thousands of worshipers and did not allow them to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the pretext of not obtaining the necessary permits.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society explained in a statement that the Israeli forces “prevented the society’s crews from bringing in its equipment and equipping its medical points, as is the custom every year during the month of Ramadan.”

She added that the Ministry of Endowments and the International Committee of the Red Cross “tried to intervene to allow the association to bring in its necessary equipment and complete its preparations to receive worshipers and provide its humanitarian and emergency services, but all these attempts failed,” according to the statement.

She added that the Israeli forces “also prevented ambulance crews from being present at the Zaytouna military checkpoint east of Jerusalem, and providing medical services to worshipers arriving to the Holy City through this checkpoint.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society considered this ban “a dangerous precedent and a precedent for preventing the Society’s ambulance crews from working inside East Jerusalem.”

For his part, the website explained:The Times of IsraelThousands of police personnel deployed, on Friday, throughout the Old City of Jerusalem, “in anticipation of unrest,” after the Hamas movement called on Palestinian worshipers to fortify themselves inside Al-Aqsa Mosque during the first Friday prayer of Ramadan.

The Israeli police said, “In addition to 3,000 policemen and members of the Border Police, the Commissioner General of Police, Kobi Shabtai, commanders of the Jerusalem District and security officials from the General Security Service (Shin Bet) will visit several command centers set up in the Old City, where they will receive updates.” “Real-time situation.”

The Israeli police spokeswoman, Merit Ben-Mayor, said during a press conference on Tuesday: “We are ready for Friday prayers. Thousands of police officers will be deployed in the Temple Mount area (the Holy Mosque).”

She added that “hundreds of police officers” have been deployed in the Old City since the beginning of Ramadan, Monday, in a very tense context in light of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Mayor confirmed that since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, “tens of thousands have prayed in the courtyard of the Temple Mount without any significant incident recorded.”

In response to a question about the tension that occurred on Sunday when police dispersed the crowd with batons, she described the matter as an “isolated incident,” according to Agence France-Presse.

“We are on high alert,” said Tal Heinrich, spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office.

She added that “the vast majority come to pray,” and accused organizations “such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad of trying to ignite the region,” and urged Muslims “not to be deceived by terrorists.”

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