JERUSALEM, Wednesday, February 20, 2019 (WAFA) – Palestinians removed tonight a metal gate Israeli police had placed at the entrance to a building in Al-Aqsa Mosque‘s Bab al-Rahmeh on Sunday and held prayer in the area, according to witnesses.
Dozens of worshippers held the prayers at Bab al-Rahmeh, one of the gates of Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem‘s Old City in a show of defiance to Israeli attempts to prevent Muslims from being in that area and after calls were made to hold all five daily prayers at Bab al-Rahmeh.
Palestinians fear Israel is planning to turn that area and the building into a Jewish temple in the heart of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, after Jewish fanatics were seen in recent days and weeks holding religious rituals in that area under police protection.
Police had also attempted to keep Muslim worshippers away from that area at all times, provoking as a result the strong Palestinian reaction to the closure of the metal gate.
Confrontations broke out inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday between Israeli police and Palestinians who attempted to remove the gates leading to several injuries and around 16 arrests.
An Israeli court on Wednesday freed 14 of the Palestinian detainees on condition of staying away from the Old City of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque for 60 days, except for those who live in the Old City but ordered not to be in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in addition to paying around $400 in bail, according to Mohammad Mahmoud, an attorney with the Prisoners Commission.
Two were remanded in custody until Friday, he said.
In addition, Israeli police detained on Wednesday a woman who is active in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque at her Jerusalem home and summoned another woman for interrogation. Both women, Hanadi Halawani and Khadija Khweis, were targeted before by the police, held in detention several times and ordered to stay away from Al-Aqsa for many weeks.
The Islamic Waqf, which is in charge of Al-Aqsa Mosque, has vowed to press for free Muslim worship at Bab al-Rahmeh as part of Al-Aqsa compound despite the Israeli ban.