Muslims pray peacefully at Al-Aqsa on the last Friday of the month

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Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers prayed peacefully at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the last Friday of Ramadan despite fears of unrest due to the ongoing Gaza war and surging tensions with Iran.
The Islamic Waqf, which administers the holy site, estimated that some 120,000 people attended the afternoon prayers.
The Israel police said “tens of thousands” attended and that prayers passed largely without incident amid a massive police deployment.
“Police will continue augmented operations in Jerusalem until Saturday morning, as the ‘Leilat al-Qader’ prayers end on the Temple Mount,” a police statement said.
Video on social media from the early Temple Mount prayers showed dozens shouting “with spirit and blood we will redeem Al Aqsa” and chanting “Abu Obeida,” referring to the Hamas spokesperson’s nom de guerre.
Prayers at the Temple Mount during the previous three Fridays of Ramadan also ended comparatively peacefully, allaying Israeli fears that the Muslim holy month would be especially fraught due to the ongoing war on Hamas in Gaza.
Wary of stoking tensions, the Israeli government in February nixed an attempt by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to block young Arab men with Israeli citizenship from going to the Temple Mount during Ramadan.
In 2021, clashes between police and Muslim devout atop the Temple Mount during Ramadan led to a military operation against Hamas in Gaza, during which Arab-Jewish violence erupted in parts of Israel as well.

NEUTRAL

On the final Friday of Ramadan, tens of thousands of Muslims attended the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where they prayed in silence despite worries about unrest brought on by the ongoing Gaza conflict and rising tensions with Iran.

The holy site’s overseer, the Islamic Waqf, estimated that 120,000 people came for the afternoon prayers. Under a heavy police presence, the Israel police reported that “tens of thousands” attended and that prayers went off largely without incident.

Nonetheless, authorities reported that they had detained two individuals for disobeying an earlier directive to avoid the third-holiest site in Islam and one person for assaulting an officer.

“As the ‘Leilat al-Qader’ prayers conclude on the Temple Mount on Saturday morning, police will continue augmented operations in Jerusalem,” a police statement stated.

When some of the attendees at the dawn prayers at Al-Aqsa “began chanting in support of terrorism,” police earlier in the day said they had arrested eight people for incitement. Four of the people detained were citizens of Israel and were from the northern region, while the other four were from East Jerusalem, according to the police.

Numerous people were captured on camera during the early Temple Mount prayers, chanting “Abu Obeida,” which is a reference to the pseudonym of the Hamas spokesperson, and shouting “with spirit and blood we will redeem Al Aqsa.”.

A police drone detonated tear gas on the suspected inciters at the flashpoint site for the first time since the start of the holy month.

From the terrorist attack on October 7, which was spearheaded by Hamas and resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 people, the majority of whom were civilians, and the capture of 253 hostages, tensions in Israel and the West Bank have mounted.

The three Fridays before this one ended relatively calmly at the Temple Mount, as well, as Israeli concerns that the Muslim holy month would be particularly volatile because of the ongoing war on Hamas in Gaza were allayed. Israeli security forces generally believed that Yahya Sinwar, the military chief of the Palestinian terror group in Gaza, was trying to escalate the conflict during the Muslim holy month.

Iran threatened to retaliate for an alleged Israeli strike in Damascus that killed several members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the organization’s top commander in Syria, which contributed to the heightened tensions on Friday.

The IRGC members’ funeral service fell on Quds (Jerusalem) Day, which is observed annually on the last Friday of Ramadan by Iran and its allies since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Iran claims this day as an opportunity to show support for the Palestinian people.

An attempt by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to prevent young Arab men who hold Israeli citizenship from visiting the Temple Mount during Ramadan was canceled in February by the Israeli government, which was concerned about inflaming tensions. West Bank Palestinians were subject to limitations, though.

A military operation against Hamas in Gaza in 2021 resulted from clashes between police and Muslim devout atop the Temple Mount during Ramadan. During this operation, violence between Arabs and Jews broke out in several areas of Israel.

The location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest shrine in Islam, and the holiest place in Judaism—where two biblical Temples once stood—make it a recurring hotspot for Israeli-Arab hostilities.

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