- Title: MIDEAST: Tens of thousands pray at Al Aqsa, Hamas reacts reacts to Syria
- Date: 3rd August 2012
- Summary: MORE OF HANIYEH AT MOSQUE
- Embargoed: 18th August 2012 13:00
- Location: Jerusalem, West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Politics,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA4KTXEEGE7WGC4E5L80CPTS7Z
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Tens of thousands pray at Al-Aqsa mosque as Haniyeh in Gaza condemns the killing of Palestinian refugees in Syria.
There was a heavy Israeli security presence in Jerusalem on Friday (August 3) as Palestinians attended the third Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa mosque.
Worshippers began arriving in the early hours of the morning for prayers at the the Noble Sanctuary (AlHaram Ashareef), known to Jews as the Temple Mount, which houses Al-Aqsa mosque - Islam's third holiest shrine.
Israel imposed an age restriction on men taking party - only those over 40 and under 12 were allowed. Women were not restricted by age. Never the less, tensof thousands of worshipers made it to the Mosque this Friday.
Many Palestinians residing across the West Bank find access to Jerusalem is denied due to Israeli army restrictions.
Palestinians describe the restrictions as collective punishment that has hit their economy and made travel difficult. They complain that access to holy sites, especially during Ramadan, should be guaranteed by Israel, which has occupied Arab East Jerusalem and its Old City since 1967.
Israeli police say the restrictions are imposed for security reasons, in order to prevent attacks against the Jewish state.
In the West Bank, worshippers gathered to pray in the Old City of Hebron.
The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which Muslims call al-Ibrahimi mosque, is sacred to Jews and Muslims as the traditional burial place of biblical figures Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah.
Ramadan is the Muslim month of abstinence during daylight and is marked by festivities at night, with lanterns, balloons, firecrackers, feasts and visits to family and loved ones.
Meanwhile in Gaza City, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh condemned the attack on Yarmuk reefugee camp in Syria which killed some 20 Palestinian refugees.
"With all of pain we deprecate this massacre we demanded and we assure our demand that the Palestinian refugee camps should be neutral, and also protect the Palestinian nation (refugees) from what is happening in the Syrian field," Haniyeh said.
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