World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli authorities have ordered the closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) to Muslims on Wednesday and Thursday during the occasion of the Jewish Passover holiday that begins Monday, a Palestinian official said.
"The Israelis have notified us about the closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque as of Wednesday morning until Thursday night," Tayseer Abu Sneineh, director of religious endowments in Al-Khalil, told Anadolu Agency.
"The site is closed to Muslim worshippers during Jewish holidays, while being kept open to Jews on the pretext of providing protection to [Jewish] settlers and allowing them to perform their Talmudic rituals," he added.
Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Al-Khalil's Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial sites of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Following the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities kept Muslim and Jewish worshippers separated.
Al-Khalil is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and some 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a number of Jewish-only enclaves that are heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
Israel restricts Gaza, West Bank border crossings
Israeli authorities have announced restrictions on access between the country and the Palestinian territories as the traditional Passover festival began on Monday.
In a statement, the Israeli army announced that they had closed the southeastern Karm Abu Salem Gate border crossing to the Gaza strip. Access to and from Israel from the West Bank will also be restricted until Tuesday night.
Medical and humanitarian transactions will continue but only with written permission of local authorities, the army statement added.
All state institutions and organizations in Israel are on official holiday for one week.Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2014, 15:51