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Albanian man tries to set himself on fire at Eid prayers in Tirana

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Last year's Eid prayers outside the mosque of Kokonozi in Tirana, Albania
Last year's Eid prayers outside the mosque of Kokonozi in Tirana, Albania   -   Copyright  Gent Onuzi/AP
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An Albanian man tried to set himself on fire during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the Albanian capital of Tirana, police said on Thursday.

The 40-year old, identified by the initials B.G. had poured gasoline over himself before entering Skanderbeg square before he was stopped by onlookers.

Some of the thousands of Muslims praying at the square in Tirana managed to stop the man and police took him away, adding in a statement that they were investigating the reasons behind the act.

Albania’s population of 2.8 million is predominantly Muslim, with smaller Orthodox and Catholic communities that co-exist peacefully.

Eid celebrations to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began in muted fashion across the world on Thursday morning, against a backdrop of COVID-19 and the fresh wave of violence tearing through Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

In the embattled Gaza Strip, the call to prayer echoed over pulverized buildings and heaps of rubble as Israeli warplanes continued to pound the territory in the worst outbreak of violence since 2014.

Worshippers wore masks at communal Eid prayers in other parts of the Muslim world, with socially-distanced prayers held in Kosovo and Bosnia and large unmasked gatherings in parts of Russia.

Elsewhere newly-imposed travel bans in many countries including Malaysia hindered the usual celebrations.