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'A religious war': Hamas warns of ‘explosion’ after Israel says will restrict access to Al-Aqsa in Ramadan

Muslim men attend the first Friday prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in front of the Dome of the Rock, on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds on April 8, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, warning that the measure will explode the whole situation.

“An outburst of anger is waiting to go off in the face of the occupying regime in response to any restrictions on worship at the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan,” Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, said on Sunday.

Earlier, Hamas had roundly condemned Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, stating that the decision is a reflection of the Zionist crimes and the religious war waged by hardliner elements in the Israeli administration against the Palestinian people.

In a statement, the Gaza-based group said the restrictions would be a “violation of the freedom of worship” in the holy site, adding that the plan showed Israel’s intention to increase its attacks on the mosque during the Muslim fasting month.

The statement called on Palestinians in occupied East al-Quds, the occupied West Bank and the 1948-occupied territories to reject and resist this “criminal decision”, urging them to “take action and flock to al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday gave his green light to the recommendations of so-called national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and approved the restriction of Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

A limited number of Palestinians will reportedly be allowed to enter the mosque during the month.

Several Hebrew-language media outlets, including Keshet 12 television channel, reported in the last two days that Israel’s so-called internal security service, Shin Bet, had warned the Tel Aviv regime that prohibiting Palestinians from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan “could lead to major disturbances.”

The agency warned that this decision could cause more “dangerous” disruption than the eruption of tensions in al-Quds, the West Bank, and the 1948-occupied territories.

Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have restricted Palestinian Muslims’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque, particularly on Fridays.

Last Friday, despite Israeli restrictions, approximately 25,000 Palestinian worshippers were able to enter the mosque in the Old City of al-Quds to perform Friday prayers for the first time since the war.

Ramadan is expected to begin this year on or around March 10.

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