Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslim worshippers

A view of Ibrahimi Mosque

RAMALLAH, Palestine:  The Israeli army on Saturday closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron to Muslim worshippers, according to the mosque director.

Sheikh Hefzy Abu Asinina told Anadolu Agency that the Israeli army only allowed settlers to visit the site to mark the Chayei Sarah occasion.

“The mosque has been closed since 3 p.m. on Friday and will remain closed until 10 p.m. Saturday,” Abu Sneina said.

During Jewish holidays, the Israeli army seals off the mosque to Muslims for up to ten days a year.

Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to be the burial site of the prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by a Jewish extremist settler, Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided in July 2017 to include the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old city of Hebron on its World Heritage List.

Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.-AA

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