Hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under armed security by the Israeli police on Sunday morning in memory of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av, in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem.
Tisha B’Av notably commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temple, which Jews believe were located where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, now stands.
Local sources told Ma'an that hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the form of successive groups through the Moroccan Gate and toured throughout the compound.
Sources added that many of the Israeli settlers performed Jewish religious rituals in the compound, while Israeli police removed several extremist Israeli settlers from the premises.
Sources confirmed that by 9:45 a.m. on Sunday,at least 720 right-wing Israeli settlers entered through the Moroccan Gate and stormed the compound.
Meanwhile, heavily armed Israeli police were deployed at the entrance gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, setting up iron barriers on the doors and confiscating ID cards from Palestinians, before allowing them to enter the compound.
An extremist Israeli Knesset member, Yehuda Glick, to campaigns for Jeiwsh access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, was seen storming the compound accompanied by hundreds of Israeli settlers.
Glick's visit to the compound was made following other MKs visit upon Netanyahu's decision to allow members of the Israeli Knesset, mostly right-wing extremists who support the demolition of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months.
On Saturday evening, hundreds of right-wing Israeli settlers organized a march in the central West Bank city of Jerusalem, in which they performed Jewish prayers, while singing and dancing in the streets of the Old City and at the gates of Al-Aqsa.
Sources pointed out that during the march, Israeli settlers were shouting slogans against Arabs and Muslims.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Despite the agreement with Jordan -- which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa -- Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site, often under armed guard.
Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site, and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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