Israeli police deploy around Aqsa mosque
Published Friday 27/07/2012 (updated) 29/07/2012 16:41
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities allowed women of various ages to enter Jerusalem during Ramadan, the chief Palestinian liaison officer told Ma'an on Friday, but delays were widely reported.
Jihad Jayyousi was present at Bethlehem's checkpoint 300 at the northern entrance, where he told Ma'an that the Israeli side promised to let in women regardless of their age.
Children under the age of 12 are also being allowed into the city without permits.
But people waiting in line at the checkpoint said Israeli police were spread across every corner of Jerusalem checking IDs "many times a day" due to security restrictions.
Palestinians at the checkpoint said they would pray where they stood if Israel refused to let them in.
Israeli police insisted nothing had changed Friday.
"Worshipers from all over the West Bank will undergo the same regulations as last Friday, men above 40, women, and children are allowed to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque without permits," a police spokesman said.
In Jerusalem, crowds of worshipers arrived at the mosque from early morning.
Alleys were crowded on the second Friday of the holy month, especially at three of the gates leading toward the mosque. Worshipers arrived from Jerusalem and all over the West Bank.
The ministry of religious affairs installed a tent to shade worshipers during their arrival.