Muslim leaders in Jerusalem lift boycott on al-Aqsa Mosque prayers

Muslim leaders in Jerusalem lift boycott on al-Aqsa Mosque prayers
Palestinian religious leaders met after Israel removed an overhead metal bridge and railings it recently installed outside the shrine
2 min read
27 July, 2017

Muslim leaders in Jerusalem called on Palestinians to lift the boycott on al-Aqsa Mosque, and that they will be able to pray in the mosque after Asr afternoon prayers (2:20pm BST).

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated calls for Palestinians to return to al-Aqsa shortly after the religious announcement was made.

The leaders met after Israel removed security installations around al-Aqsa Mosque, a move which angered Palestinians, who accused the Israelis of the "Judaisation" of Jerusalem.

Thousands of Palestinians have been praying in the streets outside the shrine after religious leaders told them not to worship inside the holy compound in protest.

Early on Thursday, Israeli forces removed newly installed railings and scaffolding where new security cameras had previously been mounted, although it is unclear if all new measures had been taken down.

Late Wedneday, Israel removed security installations from the entrances around the al-Aqsa mosque compound, leading to celebrations among Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Palestinians had gathered to pray en-masse near the Old City's Lions' Gate entrance late in the evening, part of what they say is a coordinated non-violent campaign over the past twelve days to protest new Israeli security measures.

These were put in place following the killing of two Israeli policemen on 14 July.

Palestinians gathered around the Old City in large crowds to celebrate, with whistling, chanting, and the sound of car horns filling the air.

Others set off fireworks as Palestinian flags were waved among the crowds.