A limited number of worshipers attended Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque due to stringent entry restrictions enforced by Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli law enforcement deployed many units within Jerusalem’s Old City and set up barriers in its narrow streets. The Islamic Waqf Department issued a statement indicating that only individuals over 70 could enter the mosque. According to eyewitnesses, the Old City area resembled a heavily fortified zone, with Israeli police denying entry to those who did not reside there. Tensions are rising in the occupied Palestinian territories as the Israeli military’s operations in Gaza continue.
The ongoing conflict was initiated last Saturday when the Palestinian group Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a surprise attack involving a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via various means. Hamas cited the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and increased violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians as the reason for their retaliation.