Waqf announces closure of al-Asqa Mosque

Islamic Authority announced closing of al-Asqa to prayers, large outside plaza remains open to worshippers.

Eitan Divinsky ,

Muslim prayers on Temple Mount
Muslim prayers on Temple Mount
Sliman Khader/Flash90

In an unprecedented move, the Waqf Muslim Authority announced the indefinite closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount due to the spread of the COVID-19 today. Jewish prayers and visitations to Judaism's holiest site have long been restricted.

The Ministry of Health on Sunday announced the number of individuals allowed to congregate in a closed area would be lowered to 10. Previously, Prime Minister Netanyahu released sweeping measures, shutting down restaurants, malls, theaters, and educational institutions. Muslims have thus far ignored Israeli restrictions on the Temple Mount, where non-Muslims are prevented from carrying out prayer services.

While 213 cases of the virus have thus far been reported in Israel, the PA has reported 38 cases in Judea and Samaria, a majority of them in the town of Beit Lechem (Bethlehem). The PA has since blocked off the city.

According to reports 85-year old PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has for years been suffering from health issues, is no longer receiving guests out of fear of contracting the disease.

Prime Minister Netanyahu underwent testing for the coronavirus with a number of his advisors Sunday with the tests returning negative.



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