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Al-Aqsa Mosque to Remain Closed Over Coronavirus Safety Concerns


The Al-Aqsa compound located in the holy city of Jerusalem (Image Credit: Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency)

The third holiest Islam site,  the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, will be closed due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

Sheikh Omar Kiswani, the director of the mosque, announced today that prayers will continue, but will instead be held outdoors.

The closure of the holy mosque will continue until further notice.

Israeli authorities insist that the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have joint procedures in place to deal with such natural disasters, but still admit that there are no guidelines in place to deal with a mass pandemic-level event like the coronavirus.

“In a natural disaster, you rely on aid from other countries, or the fact that Israel is strong enough to take care of its neighbor as well,” the official said. “But we know this is not the case when it comes to the coronavirus.”

According to reports, Israel has not yet publicly discussed whether it will be accepting any Palestinian coronavirus patients from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip due to fears that Israel’s healthcare system could be crippled due to shortages of hospital beds for Israeli patients.

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