JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Thousands of worshipers prayed in the streets of Jerusalem on Friday after Israeli authorities imposed new restrictions on Palestinians' right to pray inside the holy Al-Aqsa compound.
The compound -- which is the third holiest site in Islam -- was mostly empty on Friday after Israeli authorities prohibited all Palestinians under the age of 40 from praying there and set up barricades at the compound's entrances to limit their access.
Many worshipers prayed at the gates of the compound while others prayed at the entrances to the Old City, although a limited number were able to pray inside the Al-Aqsa compound.
The restrictions come only two weeks after Israeli authorities imposed similar restrictions, barring Palestinians under the age of 50 from praying in the compound. Those restrictions led to protests both in Palestine and abroad, as many feared such limitations were part of a broader strategy to limit Palestinian access to the compound.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said in a statement on Friday afternoon that many of the worshipers arrived to find that Israeli forces had set up military checkpoints in the alleys of the Old City.
As a result, worshipers gathered at the Council Gate (Bab al-Majlis), the Iron Gate (Bab al-Hadid), and Gate of Remission (Bab al-Hatta) to pray as close to the Al-Aqsa mosque as possible, while areas around Damascus Gate and the Lion's Gate, both of which are gates to Jerusalem's Old City, saw large numbers of worshipers as well.
Scuffles broke out in a number of places with Israeli police forces as a result of the restrictions.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation warned that Israeli policies and pressures restricting worshipers' access to Al-Aqsa were increasing and becoming more common, calling upon Palestinians in Jerusalem and across Palestine to increase their efforts to maintain their links with the compound.