JERUSALEM – As the strict occupation measures in Jerusalem and at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque pass their first month, Palestinian residents of the city are sad to not be able to pray in the mosque where they used to pray.

A number of Jerusalemites spoke to Al Jazeera Net says that the occupation measures prevent young people who are not residents of the Old City from entering it, and also prevent residents of the town itself from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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Um Anas al-Afghani feels sad and "sometimes hopeless as a result of disability" because she was unable to enter the mosque and pray there.

"The conditions are difficult, they are forbidden to enter and you can't do anything, several times I tried to enter and they prevented me under the pretext that I am not a resident of the Old City."

Um Anas hopes that the situation will change for the better, stressing that "Al-Aqsa is our mosque and belongs to Muslims, but one soldier controls entry and exit."

Akef al-Shami, a resident of the Wad al-Joz neighborhood in Jerusalem, said he used to pray in the mosque since childhood, but today he feels discomfort after about five weeks of preventing entry to Al-Aqsa and procedures in its vicinity.

For the fifth Friday in a row. Worshipers perform Friday prayers on asphalt in the Wadi Al-Joz area of occupied Jerusalem after being prevented from reaching Al-Aqsa

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— Al Jazeera Net | Quds (@Aljazeeraquds) November 10, 2023

Mahmoud Baarani, a resident of the Bab Hatta neighbourhood, which is adjacent to al-Aqsa Mosque, said he used to pray in the mosque since childhood, "I used to enter al-Aqsa when I came back from school and prayed there."

The mosque is now closed to most worshippers, he said: "The conditions are bad, only the elderly do not enter it, I hope that the situation stabilizes and we return to prayer".

His relative, Mahmoud Ba'rani, a resident of the Old City near Al-Aqsa Mosque, also said that he used to pray all the time in the mosque, pointing to the absence of worshipers and the lack of movement in the Old City due to the measures and harassment of the occupation.

After preventing them from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque... The Israeli occupation forces suppress worshipers who came to Wadi Al-Joz area for Friday prayers, and assault them with tear gas bombs and wastewater

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— Al Jazeera Net | Quds (@Aljazeeraquds) November 10, 2023

Moataz Hijazi says he used to perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, but for the fifth week in a row he cannot reach it.

Regarding his feeling with his continued absence from the mosque, he says: "A bad feeling, the situation is not perfect, the Muslim is supposed to prevent him from entering Al-Aqsa, the one who comes down to pray comfortably, Al-Aqsa for Muslims."

Hijazi hopes that the tightening will disappear and that all Muslims will be able to pray in their mosque freely.

In a brief statement, the Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem estimated that only 4,<> worshippers were able to enter the mosque and perform Friday prayers "due to the restrictions of the occupation and the prevention of worshipers from reaching prayers."

Since the outbreak of the war on Gaza on October 7, the occupation has imposed strict military measures in Jerusalem, including arrests, arrests and assaults of young men.