Day 35: Al-Aqsa Flood Operation in the city of Jerusalem
On the 35th day of “Al-Aqsa Flood” Operation, the occupation forces prevented worshipers from arriving to perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, suppressed prayers in the streets of Jerusalem, and continued to spread in the streets of towns and neighborhoods in the city.
A siege and preventing worshipers
The occupation authorities imposed a strict siege on Al-Aqsa Mosque, and took measures that prevented tens of thousands of worshipers from arriving at the mosque to perform Friday prayers there.
Police checkpoints in the neighborhoods near Al-Aqsa Mosque, checkpoints at the entrances to towns and neighborhoods in Jerusalem, infantry teams and police barriers at the gates of Al-Aqsa and the Old City, and deployment on the roads leading to Al-Aqsa. Dozens of forces were deployed and checked identities, place of residence, and age, before allowing the passage of any person to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Islamic Endowments Department explained that 4,000 worshipers performed Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
This is the fifth Friday in a row in which the occupation authorities prevent entry to Al-Aqsa to perform prayers, with the exception of the elderly, and at a time when the police are asking the people of towns and villages in Jerusalem to perform prayers in the towns’ mosques and not to go to Al-Aqsa, “as a number of worshipers explained.”
Al-Aqsa courtyards, prayer halls, and corridors are almost empty of worshipers, while forces are deployed inside the mosque's courtyards.
A 33-year-old young man from Shu’fat said: “On our way to Al-Aqsa in my car with my father, we were stopped on Street No. 1, our IDs were checked, the vehicle was searched, and we were detained for about 15 minutes. We arrived at the Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood. We passed 5 checkpoints from the neighborhood to reach the Lions Gate area. At every checkpoint, I was stopped and my identity was checked, and because I was with my father, I was allowed to pass, until I reached Lions Gate - the Old City – where I was prevented from reaching Al-Aqsa, and the soldiers tried to attack me while removing me from the place.”
A Jerusalemite from the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, 53 years old, said: “From my home to Al-Aqsa, I was stopped at 4 police checkpoints, and every time my identity and age were checked, I passed and continued walking to Lions Gate - one of the gates of Al-Aqsa- where I was prevented from entering under the pretext of my residence address being outside the old city. I continued my walk until I was able to enter through King Faisal’s gate.”
He added: "Measures have been imposed for weeks according to the mood of the policeman present in the streets of Jerusalem and at the gates of Al-Aqsa. Where is the freedom of worship?"
These measures did not stop at Friday Noon prayers, as the severe restrictions began since dawn prayers, preventing worshipers from outside the Old City from entering the walls to prevent them from reaching Al-Aqsa.
An 81-years-old man explained that he and more than 20 worshipers, all of whom were elderly, were prevented from entering the Old City and reaching Al-Aqsa, pointing out that they tried through the Lions and Herods gates, but they were prevented, so they performed the prayer at the closest point they were able to reach.
The occupation authorities have imposed a siege on Al-Aqsa since the seventh of last October.
Prayers on asphalt
The Palestinians performed Friday prayers in the streets of Jerusalem, after being prevented from reaching Al-Aqsa, despite oppression, persecution, and attacks.
In the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, several minutes before prayer time, the forces fired gas bombs heavily into the streets of the neighborhood and sprayed waste water on the neighborhood streets and homes, to prevent prayer in the streets, and despite this, dozens were able to pray on the street near the Abdeen Mosque.
In the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood, worshipers performed prayers near the mosque, and the forces attacked the worshipers by pushing them several times, to prevent them from praying in the streets, and forced them to pray only on the sidewalks.
Prayers were also held in the alleys of the Old City and inside the Yusufiya Cemetery, due to the severe restrictions imposed on the entry of worshipers.
Arrests also continued in the city of Jerusalem, and the center monitored the arrest of the following:
1. Tarek Obaid
2. Yazan Zalbani “was transferred to administrative detention for a period of 6 months.” He was arrested two days ago after his home in the Shu’fat refugee camp was raided, to carry out the decision to bomb his family’s home. He is the brother of the child prisoner, Mohammad Zalbani.
3. Ma’moon Farhat “transferred to administrative detention for 3 months.”