JERUSALEM

Israeli police stopped Palestinians coming from outside the old city of Jerusalem from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers under the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic.

Security personnel justified the move as being in line with the complete lockdown imposed by the Israeli government to stem the recent spike in virus cases.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that Israeli police officers also fined Palestinians for allegedly violating lockdown measures.

The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf administration said only 1,200 Palestinians managed to offer Friday prayers at holy mosque.

Israel has imposed a stricter lockdown starting Friday as its COVID-19 tally has reached 214,458, including 1,378 deaths and 152,294 recoveries.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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