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Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque under military protection

A screen grab from footage released by AFP on January 17, 2018 showing Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

A group of Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The settlers forcefully entered the mosque on Wednesday morning, an action which resulted in clashes with Muslim worshippers.

Following the incident, General Director of the Islamic Awqaf and al-Aqsa Affairs Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib voiced concerns over the incident, noting that Israeli authorities are responsible for the clashes.

The Israeli security forces regularly allow extremists to enter the compound under police protection, while restricting Palestinian access.

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Under a 1967 deal between Israel and Jordan, the compound’s custodian, non-Muslim worship is prohibited at the site.

In defiance of the agreement, the regime in Tel Aviv regularly allows Israeli settlers and extremists to enter the site and carry out religious rituals -- often under armed guard.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to the Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in Jenin raid

A Palestinian was killed during clashes with Israeli troops late on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the slain Palestinian as 22-year-old Ahmed Jarrar.

Eyewitnesses said that several people were also injured in the raids which lasted until the early hours of Thursday.

Israeli media reports claimed that Jarrar had links to the last week shooting incident in the West Bank in which a rabbi was killed.

On January 9, Israel ordered a sweeping crackdown in the West Bank after the shooting death of the Israeli rabbi.   

Israeli sources said Raziel Shevah, 35, was killed by shots fired from a passing vehicle near the Israeli settlement of Havat Gilad in the northern West Bank.

Tel Aviv often uses such incidents as pretexts to intensify its already draconian restrictive measures against the Palestinians residing in the territory.

Tensions have been high in the region since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and announced that he was planning to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

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