RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Israel has shut the flashpoint Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims in the West Bank city of Hebron for marking Jewish holidays, according to the mosque director on Saturday.
“Israeli forces closed the Ibrahimi Mosque on Friday night to Muslim worshippers, while it was opened to Israeli settlers,” Ghassan al-Rajabi told Anadolu.
He said the mosque will remain closed until Saturday evening.
Israeli settlers will observe the Rosh Hashanah holiday from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17 this year. They will also mark the Sukkot holiday at the end of September and the Simhat Torah holiday on October. 6.
During Jewish holidays, the Israeli army seals off the mosque to Muslims for up to ten days a year.
Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to be the burial site of the prophets Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshipers inside the mosque by a Jewish extremist settler, Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.
UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided in July 2017 to include the Ibrahimi Mosque and the old city of Hebron on its World Heritage List.
Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
*Writing by Ikram Kouachi