Local officials in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron made a call on Thursday for Palestinians to attend Friday prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque to confront alleged Israeli plans for its "Judaizing."
In a statement, the Islamic Waqf department announced that several of mosques in Hebron would be closed to encourage worshippers in the city to perform their prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque.
The call comes amid plans by Israel to build an elevator outside the mosque for the exclusive use of Jewish settlers. Palestinians say this would facilitate settler raids into the mosque.
Israel's Defense Ministry said it started the project in the mosque's courtyards to construct a route that directly links the parking area to the mosque and the electric elevator.
The Ibrahimi Mosque has witnessed regular harassment, including a ban by Israeli authorities on using loudspeakers for the call to prayer and raids by settlers into the mosque.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the Ibrahimi Mosque and old city of Hebron to its World Heritage List.
Under the Hebron Agreement signed in 1997 between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel, the city was divided into two areas -- H1, subject to Palestinian control, and H2 under Israeli control. It is estimated that 20% of the city’s area, in which the old city and the Ibrahimi Mosque are located, is in H2.
*Writing by Ahmed Asmar in AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.