The Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Har HaBayis reopened to Muslim worshippers and visitors on Sunday morning after a two-and-a-half month coronavirus closure, but authorities imposed some precautions as health officials warned of an uptick in local infections.
The re-opening saw eight Muslims detained after they began shouting nationalistic slogans at a group of Jews visiting the site and tried to disrupt their visit, the police said. Poskim have forbidden Jews from entering the area.
Before dawn, hundreds of Muslim worshipers waited outside the gates to the complex, and once the doors were open, many were singing “With blood and spirit we will redeem al-Aqsa,” according to The Times of Israel.
The Council of Islamic Waqf cited the slowed local spread of COVID-19 in lifting entry restrictions and re-opening the compound, which shut on March 15.
But the council imposed some measures to reduce the risk of contagion, as new cases in Israel spiked in recent days.
Worshippers must wear face masks and bring personal prayer rugs should they wish to pray inside the shrines or on the compound’s outdoor grounds.
There did not appear to be a limit on the number of people allowed into the 35-acre compound.