A view of the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), (file photo)
Source: Press TV
Israel says it will restrict access to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of the 63rd anniversary of the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli army, also known as the Day of Nakba (Catastrophe).
Shmulik Ben Rubi, an Israeli police spokesman, says only men over 45 and women holding Israeli-issued identity cards will be allowed to enter the mosque compound on Friday, AFP reported on Thursday.
He added that Israeli police will be deployed around the site in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) to reinforce the restriction.
The latest development comes as Palestinians have begun ceremonies marking the major grievance and aim to hold a series of other demonstrations in the run-up to the Day of Nakba on Sunday.
The event marks the anniversary of a 1948 event, when Israeli forces displaced some 700,000 Palestinians, forcing them to flee to different neighboring countries.
The soldiers wiped nearly 500 Palestinian villages and towns off the map, leaving an estimated total of 4.7 million refugees dreaming of an eventual return to their homeland more than six decades later.
Meanwhile, thousands of Egyptians also plan to cross into the blockaded Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing on Sunday.
The Egyptians intend to hold a major protest rally against the years-long Israeli siege of Gaza as well.
The Israeli regime laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after the democratically-elected Hamas lawmakers took over the administration of the enclave.
The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished territory.
Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.