Thousands of Jews pray at Wailing Wall in memory of ancient temples

Thousands of Jews prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday in memory of the destruction of the ancient Jewish temples, as hundreds of Israeli police patrolled the streets.

The increase in security was meant to prevent confrontations as Orthodox Jews mark the annual fast day of Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the tragedies of the Jewish people, beginning on Saturday night.

At the centre of Tisha B'Av is the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the Romans. The fast day starts with the reading of the Book of Lamentations by candlelight in the synagogue Saturday night while worshippers sit on the floor.

The Wailing Wall, also known as the Western Wall or Kotel, is an ancient retaining wall that sits at the foot of the Temple Mount or Noble Sanctuary, considered a holy site in both Islam and Judaism.

Under a status quo agreement, only Muslims can pray on the platform housing al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the ruins of the Biblical Jewish Temple while Jews are permitted only to visit.

The controversial rules regarding visiting and praying have led to repeated clashes between Israelis and Palestinians over the years.

Last update: Sun, 14/08/2016 - 12:25
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