Hundreds of Gazans Visit Jerusalem for First Time Since 2007

Israel eases travel restrictions for Muslim holiday as part of new policy following Gaza summer offensive.

Gaza pilgrims
Palestinian pilgrims crossing the Beit Hanoun checkpoint on their way to the Erez border crossing and then to Jerusalem, during the holiday of Eid al-Adha, Oct. 5, 2014. AP

Some 500 residents of the Gaza Strip traveled Sunday to pray at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque, the first time residents of the Hamas-controlled territory have been allowed to the holy city since 2007.

The three-day Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, known as Id al-Adha, commenced Friday evening.

Israel issued the permits to Gazans aged 60 and over as part of a policy to ease restrictions on Gaza residents following the end of its 50-day war with Hamas.

Palestinians living in the West Bank would be allowed unlimited travel to Israel for sightseeing and family visits over the holiday as well, the Israeli military announced last week.

Israel has blockaded the Gaza Strip since Hamas won legislative elections in 2006. Hamas took over control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007.