Millions of people in more than a dozen Muslim countries are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan after the new moon of the lunar calendar month of Shawwal was sighted the previous night.
Muslim worshipers who had fasted for a month took part in Eid prayers in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Sudan, Syria, the Israeli-occupied Palestine, most of the Persian Gulf Arab kingdoms as well as countries in North Africa in the morning of the festive occasion.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims gathered in Saudi Arabia’s holy cities of Mecca and Medina to perform the Eid al-Fitr prayers in the early hours of Friday morning, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
In the UAE, thousands of worshipers headed to mosques to mark the first day of Eid Al Fitr, before enjoying the holiday with their families and friends.
“Today we mark the first day of Eid Al Fitr,” said a imam, addressing them at a mosque in Dubai. “It means happiness, and it is important to be happy during Eid and visit our family and friends.
Elsewhere in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, a total of 120,000 worshipers performed the Eid al-Fitr prayers at the sacred al-Aqsa Mosque compound despite strict measures taken by Israel.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said Israeli forces assaulted Palestinian youths, beating them with sticks near the Lions’ Gate in occupied al-Quds, as they were on their way to perform the Eid prayers.
Additionally, Syria’s official news agency SANA published pictures of President Bashar al-Assad attending ceremonies for the annual Islamic Eid al Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan. The service took place at late President Hafez al-Assad's mosque in al-Mezzah neighborhood of the capital Damascus.
Those attending the service were government officials, members of the People's Assembly, clergymen and ordinary people. They observed the Eid al Fitr ritual, repeating after Sheikh Khudre Shahrour, who led the crowd of several hundred in prayer.
Sheikh Shahrour stressed that Eid al-Fitr conveys the noble message of humanity, adding that a clear manifestation of its meaning was displayed by Syrians, Christians and Muslims worldwide who rushed to help earthquake-affected people in the northern part of the war-torn Arab country.
Muslims in other Islamic countries such as Iran and Iraq are expected to mark the Eid with nationwide mass prayers on Saturday.