JERUSALEM, (AFP) – More than 50,000 Muslim worshippers flooded Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City for prayers on Friday, the first day of Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, Israeli police said.
“Some 50,000 attended morning prayers on the Temple Mount, and another 7,000 were there for afternoon services,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, adding that “everything went peacefully.”
The Israeli army also eased restrictions on access of West Bank Palestinians on the occasion of the holiday.
“Travel and access restrictions will be eased during the holiday for the Palestinian population in the Judea and Samaria region,” an army statement said referring to the West Bank.
“These measures are part of a general policy to improve the quality of life,” it added.
Among other measures, the army extended opening hours of several West Bank checkpoints and granted family visitation permits, the statement read.
Israel generally does not allow West Bank and Gaza Palestinians access to Israel and east Jerusalem, occupied in 1967.
The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is referred to as the Temple Mount by Jews and Al-Haram al-Sharif by Muslims.
It houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques, and is venerated by Jews as the site where King Herod’s temple stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.