For the first time in 16 years, Palestinians on Friday 22 February prayed at an area by the Al-Rahma gate, located inside occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

It is a passageway of gates and a stairway leading to a hall that had been closed by Israeli authorities for years and was reopened on Friday by Muslim religious officials. The hall is located a short distance from Al-Aqsa Mosque itself.

The Israeli authorities closed the area in 2003. In 2017, an Israeli court upheld the closure order.
But on Friday, the Religious Endowments Authority, a Jordan-run agency mandated with overseeing East Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, announced the reopening of the mosque after a 16-year hiatus.

Religious Endowments Authority Director Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab opened the doors of the hall, and worshipers performed Friday prayers.