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Temple Mount. archive photo

Police closed entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City for visitors, including pilgrims

JERUSALEM, 15 APRIL – RIA Novosti. Israeli police are closing entrances to Jerusalem’s Old City for visitors, including pilgrims, tourists and journalists, RIA Novosti correspondent reported.

Barriers are erected at the gates to the Old City, where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is located, where the Holy Fire is expected to descend today, and large police forces are concentrated.

However, separate organized groups of pilgrims have the opportunity to enter the Old City.

Hundreds of believers gathered within the walls of the Old City in hopes of reaching the shrines outside its walls.

This year, Israeli law enforcement took serious security measures during the most important religious holidays that coincide with followers of the three Abrahamic religions – Easter events for Christians, the seven-day Jewish Passover (Passover) for Jews, and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The number of visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher will be limited during the descent ceremony of the Holy Fire. A maximum of 1.8 thousand people will be able to see the miracle of convergence. In previous years, about 10 thousand pilgrims were inside the temple at the time of the descent of the Holy Fire.

In response to the dissatisfaction of the Christian churches in Jerusalem with such restrictions, law enforcement officials have repeatedly stated that the increased security measures are primarily aimed at ensuring that members of all religions can make pilgrimages to shrines.

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