The Islamic Waqf decided on Sunday to close the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Har Habayis due to the spreading coronavirus.
“The Waqf council decided to temporarily suspend the arrival of worshipers…as of dawn on March 23, 2020, responding to the recommendations of religious and medical authorities,” while adding that the call to prayer by way of the site’s minarets would continue.
The unprecedented closure was said to be for a limited period of time, though no specific date for reopening was set.
The decision was made after large numbers of Muslims continued to converge on the site, ignoring warnings from the health authorities.
The previous day, chairman of the Wakf, Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab, was fined 5,000 shekels for allowing hundreds of worshipers to gather at the site in violation of the Health Ministry guidelines, The Jerusalem Post reported.