Israeli Police Cordons off Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound

JERUSALEM, August 26, 2015 (WAFA) – For the third day in a row, Israeli police Wednesday cordoned off Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, denying Palestinian worshippers access into the holy site in East Jerusalem, reported WAFA correspondent.

Police have denied Muslim women of all ages, entry into the compound, forcing them to stage a sit-down and chant slogans condemning Israeli measures at al-Silsila gate.

A Palestinian woman barricading herself at al-Silsila gate slammed the Israeli restrictions as a “spatial division” as police continued to allow settler groups’ access into the site.

Meanwhile, police allowed settler groups to force their way into the holy site via al-Magharibba (Moroccan) Gate.  Local sources reported that about 60 settlers forced their way into the Islamic compound.

WAFA correspondent said two Sharia female students were detained and a number of young men were stopped. The detainees were identified in local media as Isra’ and Bara’a Ghazzawi, who are receiving their schooling at the Sahri‘a (Islamic) Secondary Girls School inside the compound.

Headmistress of the compound ‘Ihad Sabri said Israeli police have been continuously hindering students’ access into their school, denying them free entry via the gate leading to the compound, except for al-Silsila gate.

Israeli police, according to Sabri, have also been forcing students to take bypass roads to school, causing them delay.

Furthermore, Israeli Municipality staff briefly detained two reporters, assaulted another and issued fines for two cameramen near the compound.

Local media said Bayan al-Ju‘beh, a reporter, and Sa‘id al-Rukn, a cameraman, were briefly detained and that Lawa’ Abu Rmeilah, a reporter, was physically assaulted by the police.

Furthermore, Palestine TV cameraman ‘Ali Yasin and Russia Today cameraman Mohammad ‘Asho were fined while covering the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian worshippers, purportedly for obstructing traffic. Each cameraman was fined a total of NIS 475.

The two cameramen said the fines are a step taken by the police to restrict their news coverage and prevent them from documenting Israeli police measures which aim to make life unbearable for Palestinians.

Besides, two Palestinians identified as Ahmad Zughair and Khaled Hijazi were detained by police.

According to Islamic Waqf personnel, police have been imposing restrictive measures in order to impose a new fait accompli, namely to enforce a temporal limit on the presence of Muslim worshipers at the compound.