By Qais Abu Samra
Israel will allow 500 residents of the Gaza Strip to pray in occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque next week for the first time since 2007, a government source has said.
Permits issued by Israel will allow the Gazans to pray inside the Al-Aqsa for three days starting Sunday, the source, from the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.
Ever since Hamas – which Israel deems a "terrorist" organization – won 2006 Palestinian legislative polls, Israel has imposed a tight land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Israel tightened the blockade on Gaza further after Hamas wrested control of the enclave from the rival Fatah movement one year later.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.