JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Thousands of worshipers performed Friday noon prayers in front of police checkpoints after Israeli forces imposed restrictions on Palestinian worshipers seeking to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The Al-Aqsa Waqf and Heritage Organization said that worshipers who had been unable to enter the area held prayer services in Bab al-Amoud, Wadi al-Joz and the Ras al-Amoud area near al-Aqsa.
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers were deployed in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa and dozens of checkpoints were erected while a helicopter hovered over the area, the waqf organization said.
Only a few thousand worshipers managed to enter the compound to pray due to Israeli restrictions announced on Thursday barring Palestinian men under the age of 50 from entering the Aqsa compound, which is a holy site for Muslims.
Israeli authorities said the restrictions were put in place to prevent "plans for unrest," amid a debate on extending Israeli sovereignty over the compound that has provoked outrage across the region and led the Jordanian premier to call for the review of the country's peace treaty with Israel.
The Al-Aqsa compound is located in East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. According to a 1994 peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, the compound is under Jordanian custodianship.