Hundreds of faithful gather early in the morning outside Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia for Eid Al Adha prayers. AP
Gulf Today Report
Muslims marked the first day of Eid Al Adha across the world on Friday and Saturday while abiding by guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In many countries, worshippers performed Eid prayers wearing face masks and observing social distancing in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The Turkish government did not impose any further restrictions during Eid Al Adha, but officials urged the people to strictly implement social distancing rules amid concerns that social interactions during the holiday could cause a surge in the number of new coronavirus cases.
Henna is thought to bring good luck — during festivals such as Eid, women take the time to apply intricate patterns to their hands in several countries including Pakistan.
While traditions of celebration may vary across the world, there are some commonalities in the marking of Eid Al Adha. Typically there’s a feast and a meeting of family, laughter and for those so inclined, a dash of henna to mark the festive occasion.
Turkey observes the festival from July 31 to August 3. It is a Muslim tradition to sacrifice livestock to mark the occasion. Local officials delivered free disposable prayer rugs, disinfectants, masks and water to people heading to prayers in the mosques.
The country has seen a stable trend in new figures of COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks.
Turkey confirmed 982 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, while the total diagnosed cases climbed to 230,873, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
In Afghanistan on Tuesday, the Taliban announced the three-day ceasefire ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations that are expected in the coming weeks, reports TOLO News.
The group called on its fighters to avoid attacking Afghan forces and to not enter government-controlled areas.
This is the third ceasefire in the country since June 2019.
Afghans in various regions of the country have welcomed the ceasefire.
They called on the warring sides in Afghanistan to agree to a long-term ceasefire.
"We call on all sides to swiftly start the intra-Afghan talks," TOLO News quoted a civilian as saying.
"The people are very happy, they spent time in a peace, there were no clashes," another said.
"We hope that the ceasefire marks the start of a permanent ceasefire in the country," a Kabul resident was quoted as saying.
On Friday, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners in response to the militant group's ceasefire announcement.
Ghani said the 500 prisoners were not part of the list given to the Afghan government by the Taliban and that these inmates will be released within the next four days, reports TOLO News.
According to Ghani, the Afghan government has so far released 4,600 Taliban prisoners.
Ghani's annoucement came as the Taliban also completed the release of 1,000 prisoners as per the peace agreement it signed with the US in Doha in February.
A spokesman of the group, Suhail Shaheen, said on Twitter that they freed 82 prisoners on Thursday, bringing the total released by the Taliban to 1,005.
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