SHAFAQNA -Â Tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers streamed through Jerusalem’s Old City to one of Islam’s most revered sites Friday as Israel eased restrictions for the fasting month of Ramadan.
Police said at least 80,000 people from east Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank had gone to Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, for Friday prayers, the first since this week’s start of Ramadan.
There were also 500 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who were allowed rare permission to pray at the site, an Israeli official said.
They made their way through the Old City’s narrow alleyways and plazas, decorated in areas with lights and lanterns. Sellers hawked prayer mats to passing pilgrims.
Women of all ages and men aged 40 and over from the West Bank were allowed into Jerusalem without permits, normally required to cross checkpoints and exit the territory.
According to police, 48,000 Palestinians from the West Bank were among Friday’s visitors compared to a few thousand on an average Friday.