Jordan, Jerusalemites insist on Al-Aqsa status quo

Palestinian worshippers, who refuse to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compound due to Israel’s new security measures, pray near a main entrance to the religious site in Jerusalem’s Old City, on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 17 July 2017
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Jordan, Jerusalemites insist on Al-Aqsa status quo

AMMAN: The general director of the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, has called on Israel to abide by existing understandings and the need to preserve the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The Jordanian Waqf authorities in Amman, the office of King Abdallah and the people of Jerusalem reject any changes to the status quo, Al-Khatib said.
Israel has “unilaterally set up four metal detectors at Lion’s Gate and two at Al-Majles Gate, which is a total violation of the status quo,” he told Arab News.
He added that his staff — comprising more than 300 male and female guards, preachers, muezzins, museum staff and other civil servants working in the mosque — refuse to pass through metal detectors.
“This is our mosque, we’re entrusted to guard it and we won’t accept Israeli impositions on it,” Al-Khatib said.
An attempt to bring in a coffin to be prayed over was halted because Israeli authorities insisted on having the coffin go through metal detectors.
While the call to prayer was made Sunday after the mosque’s 48-hour closure by Israel, most worshippers chose to pray beyond Israeli checkpoints rather than go through the metal detectors.
The Israelis “gave us all the keys (to the mosque gates) except the Lion’s Gate keys, which they’ll give us soon,” Al-Khatib said.
“We’ve changed over 50 locks, and we’ve set up a supervisory committee that will oversee the process of documenting if any materials have been taken or damaged during the 48 hours when we lost control over our own mosque.”
He credited King Abdallah’s call to Israel’s prime minister with the gradual reopening of the mosque.
“As a result of the call by his majesty, there were no gender or age restrictions as to who’s allowed entry to the mosque,” Al-Khatib said.
A 2014 understanding between Jordan, the US and Israel calls for unrestricted worship at Al-Aqsa to all Muslims.


Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

Updated 18 June 2019
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Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

  • Morsi, was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention, says state TV
  • The former president died aged 67

CAIRO: Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, one of his lawyers said, a day after he collapsed in court and died.

“He was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, with his family present. The funeral prayer was said in Tora prison hospital” where he was declared dead on Monday, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said.

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi, 67, who was ousted by the military on July 3, 2013, had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that he collapsed in the courtroom inside a glass cage he and others had been sharing, before his body was transferred to a local hospital.

Morsi died from a sudden heart attack, state television reported early on Tuesday, citing a medical source. The source said the former president, who was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

Sadiq added he had ordered the transfer of teams from the Supreme State Security Prosecution Office and the Southern Cairo Prosecution Office to conduct an investigation into Morsi’s death, and to examine surveillance footage from the courtroom and collect witness testimonies.

He also ordered that a senior forensic committee headed by the chief medical officer and the director of forensic medicine to prepare a forensic report on the cause of death.

Various outlets say that a state of high alert has been issued by the military and the Ministry of the Interior throughout the country following the news, for fear of riots or activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Morsi was a prominent figure.

Morsi became president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 25, 2011. He was Egypt’s fifth president.

He was born to a family of farmers on Aug. 20, 1951, in the village of Al-Adwa in Sharkia province. He married in 1978 and leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Oct. 22, 2016, over bloody clashes that took place on Dec. 5, 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi rejecting a constitutional declaration issued in November of that year.

Other sentences meant his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years, with the ongoing espionage case potentially carrying a further maximum sentence of 25 years.

In Istanbul on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

* With AFP