World Bulletin / News Desk
The Israeli authorities will close the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron to Muslims on Wednesday and Thursday for the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, a Palestinian official has said.
"Israeli authorities notified us that the Ibrahimi Mosque would be open to Jews and closed to Muslims during the Jewish New Year holiday," Tayseer Abu Sneineh, director of religious endowments in Hebron, told Anadolu Agency.
"Visiting Jews are expected to perform Talmudic rituals inside the site," he added.
According to Abu Sneineh, at least 50 Jewish settlers – led by Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz – had entered the precincts of the holy site early Wednesday.
The Israeli army, meanwhile, has stepped up its presence around the mosque with an additional 300 soldiers, Abu Sneineh added.
Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque complex – known to Jews as the "Cave of the Patriarchs" – is believed to contain the graves of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Since the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities have kept Muslim and Jewish worshippers segregated.
Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and some 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a number of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2014, 15:30