JERUSALEM

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque will be shut for three weeks due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf announced on Wednesday.

“Worshippers and visitors will not be received at the mosque as of Friday for a three-week period due to the virus outbreak,” Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Anadolu Agency.

He, however, said the mosque will remain open for the prayer calls, mosque guards and staff.

According to Palestinian health authorities, the tally of virus infections in Jerusalem reached 8,000 since June.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque was shut for two months in late March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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