Religious authority announced three-week lockdown starting Friday, but later said to change course
The Islamic Waqf - the Jordanian religious authority that oversees the Temple Mount - on Wednesday ordered the site closed from Friday, in line with Israel's renewed lockdown to attempt to arrest an alarming uptick in coronavirus cases.
However, despite the spike in cases in both Israel and Palestinian controlled areas, the Waqf seemed to roll back its decision amid apparent controversy over whether Jews would be permitted to visit even during lockdown.
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The Waqf made its original decision after an emergency meeting with health officials, in which it decided to suspend entry to worshipers to the compound that houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We hope that citizens will understand this procedure, in order to preserve their health and well-being,” Waqf member Hatem Abdel Qader told AFP early in the afternoon.
However, within a few hours, unnamed Waqf officials told Palestinian Authority outlet WAFA news agency, "after we realized th at the occupation authorities intended to open the Mughrabi Gate during the lockdown so that settlers could storm the mosque, we decided to keep the doors of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque open.” Read more at i24