Israel to limit Temple Mount worshippers during Ramadan
JERUSALEM - Israel will limit the number of Muslim worshippers at Islam's third holiest shrine to 60,000 during the holy month of Ramadan, Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra said Wednesday, citing concerns that part of the compound could collapse under a larger number of visitors.
Normally, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians come to Jerusalem during Ramadan to pray at the Haram a-Sharif, a shrine that is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine.
The ban is sure to infuriate Palestinians. The fasting month begins Thursday or Friday, with the exact start determined by the sighting of the new moon.
Adnan Husseini, director of the Islamic Trust in Jerusalem, denied an area of the compound was in danger of collapse.
No request has been received to limit the area where Muslims can worship, Husseini said, adding that he would not agree to such a demand.
"If they (Israel) want to stop worshippers from coming, this is their policy...They will have to be responsible for the reaction of the international community," Husseini said.