Al-Aqsa mosque, 3rd holiest in Islam, closes over coronavirus

Jerusalem: Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock will shut their doors as a precaution against coronavirus, Islamic religious authorities said on Sunday, while outdoor prayers will still be allowed at the complex that houses Islam’s third holiest site.

Similar measures have been taken at the nearby Western Wall, where Jews pray, outdoor prayers continue but only 10 people at a time are permitted in enclosed areas, in keeping with measures taken by the Israeli government.

“The Islamic Waqf department decided to shut down the enclosed prayer places inside the blessed Aqsa mosque until further notice as a protective measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All prayers will be held in the open areas of the Aqsa mosque,” the director of Al-Aqsa mosque, Omar Kiswani told Reuters.

Al Aqsa is being sterilized before and after each prayer since the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

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