After shootout, Israel cancels Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa
Following a police shooting, Israeli authorities on Friday cancelled Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time in nearly five decades, a Palestinian cleric said.
The decision followed a shootout in which Israeli police shot dead three Palestinians who they claimed were carrying out an armed attack inside the flashpoint Al-Aqsa compound.
Following the attack, Israeli police cleared the mosque and closed it to the public.
Yoram Ha-Levy, Jerusalem police district commander, said that Friday prayers will not be held at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israeli police also beefed up security, deploying hundreds of troops and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem's Old City, eyewitnesses said.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, a preacher at Al-Aqsa, said that the first time Friday prayer was not held at the mosque was in late August 1969, a day after Michael Rohan, an Australian, set the mosque on fire.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967.