Right-wing Israelis evacuated by police from Al-Aqsa
Israeli soldiers walk in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Jerusalem's old city on October 19, 2014. (AFP/File)
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Right-wing Israelis were evacuated from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli police Wednesday after performing prayers in the area, witnesses said.
Witnesses told Ma’an that around 30 right-wingers stormed the compound via the Moroccan gate under the armed protection of Israeli police forces.
During a tour of the compound, three Israelis began performing prayers before being evacuated by police present in the area at the time, witnesses said.
Seperately, Israeli forces stopped Palestinian woman, Muntaha Abu Snein, from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and banned her from the holy site for two weeks.
An Israeli police spokesperson did not have immediate information on Wednesday's incidents.
Right-wing Israeli groups have entered the holy compound several times this month, often coinciding with restriction on Palestinian access to the site.
Many Palestinians fear that Israel is seeking to renege on a longstanding agreement preventing non-Muslim prayer in the compound, although Israel has denied that this is the case.
Large numbers of Jewish worshipers toured the compound during a succession of Jewish holidays in September, and these tours, accompanied by restrictions on Palestinian worshipers, played a major role in triggering a wave of Palestinian protests at the beginning of October.
The mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam, and is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
Many fear that right-wing groups calling for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to make way for the Third Temple are gaining traction in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.
The PM earlier this week said that destroying the mosque "wouldn't take too much effort," but that doing so would be "contrary to everything that we [Israel] represent," according to Israeli daily Haaretz.
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