Jewish extremists storm Al Aqsa
Protected by the Israeli police, about 75 Jewish extremist settlers, who were led by a radical rabbi, have stormed Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday, a news agency reported.
The flashpoint compound sits above the Western Wall plaza and houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
It is also one of Judaism’s holiest place as Jews believe it is the site of the first and second Jewish temples. Al Aqsa mosque is also known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary.
“The settlers stormed the complex through Al Magharbeh Gate, passing through the Qibali and Marawani mosques, as well as Al-Rahmeh and Qatanin gates,” guard Naser Qous told the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
Qous described the rabbi Yehuda Glick, who is the head of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, as shouting “racist chants” against Muslims.
The guard said Glick told the Israeli police: “Keep these vandals away!”
The rabbi’s sentiment led to a row between the Jewish settlers and the Muslim worshippers inside the holy compound.
The intrusion was denounced by the Palestinian Al Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage.
It said that the storming of the complex was meant to “intimidate and scare the Palestinians,” sounding the alarm over the Israeli police “tightening its security procedures on Muslim students within Al Aqsa Mosque complex.”
On Friday, Israel allowed limited access for Muslim men to enter the Al Aqsa mosque compound during Friday prayers to prevent possible clashes following services.
The decision was made after police clashed with stone-throwing Palestinians at the compound on Tuesday, hours ahead of a debate in the Israeli parliament on Jews’ right to pray at the compound, an act which is currently banned.
The discussion, which did not result in a vote or any practical measures, sparked fury in the Muslim world. The Jordanian parliament, the custodian of the sit, voted to expel Israel’s envoy and its premier warned Amman might review its peace treaty with Israel.
The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday condemned the debate as a “dangerous escalation,” calling it part of Israel’s goal to “Judaize Jerusalem.”