Israel closes Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – The Israeli authorities have closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) to Muslim worshipers for two days during the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot, according to a local Palestinian official.

This year, Sukkot began on Sunday (Sept. 23) and will end one week later (Sept. 30).

“The Israeli authorities told us the mosque would be closed from Tuesday morning to Wednesday night,” mosque director Hafthi Abu Sneneh told Anadolu Agency.

“The site was closed to Muslims for the Jewish Sukkot holidays, while being kept open to Jewish settlers who are allowed to perform Talmudic rituals under police protection,” Abu Sneneh said.

Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial sites of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

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.