Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque under police protection

Mohamed Hatem , Tuesday 11 Apr 2023

Around 800 Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Tuesday morning, under heavy protection of Israeli police, carrying out provocative tours and performing Talmudic rituals in its courtyards, Palestinian press agency SAFA reported.

Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
Israeli settlers walk protected by Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on April 9, 2023, during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, also coinciding with the Jewish Passover holiday. AFP


The settlers entered the compound in groups through the Mughrabi gate while Israeli police were deployed in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa, its gates, and on the roof of the Al-Qibli prayer hall, SAFA said, citing the Islamic Waqf, the Jordanian body responsible for administering the Al-Aqsa compound.

The police also forced Palestinians out of the compound under the pretext of filming the settlers.

Israeli forces also set up checkpoints on the roads to Al-Aqsa, preventing Palestinians under the age of 55 from entering the mosque, SAFA added.

In the last two days, around 2,500 settlers have stormed Al-Aqsa.

Although the waqf is responsible for administration of the compound, Israel controls access to the holy site under the pretense of providing security.

Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.

On Tuesday morning, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians during an army raid that targeted the northern West Bank city of Jenin and the nearby refugee camp. The raid involved Israeli forces storming the neighborhoods of Al-Hadaf and Jabriyat as well as other areas in the vicinity of Jenin camp, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The report added that Israeli forces used live ammunition and tear gas against Palestinians during the violent confrontations, resulting in the injury of one Palestinian man.

In separate incidents, Israeli forces arrested a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian home in Bethlehem, according to WAFA. Additionally, Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets in Nablus

This comes as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled on Tuesday to announce his final position on whether or not settlers would be allowed access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during the last ten days of Ramadan, SAFA reported.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have soared in the past week after a series of Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque which saw Israeli forces firing tear gas and beating worshippers with clubs while they were participating in Itikaf, a religious practice of seclusion inside mosques commonly observed during Ramadan.

On several occasions, Palestinians have refused to leave the prayer hall inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, demanding the right to pray there overnight.

The violence at the shrine triggered retaliatory rocket fire by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon, starting Wednesday, and Israeli airstrikes targeted both areas.

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