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Israeli settlers raid Aqsa Mosque in occupied al-Quds in latest provocation

Israeli settlers and police are seen at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds on March 14, 2019. (Photo by Ma’an)

Dozens of Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds under the protection of security forces.

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency, citing spokesperson of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization Firas al-Dibs on Thursday, said more than 150 Israeli settlers swarmed the compound for an hour.

According to locals, Israeli settlers continuously “raid” the sacred compound via the Moroccan Gate, tour the site and leave through the Chain Gate.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted but according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.

Furthermore, the number of Israeli lawmakers who storm the sacred compound has increased after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided last July to allow such visits once every three months.

Many of the Knesset members are right-wing extremists, who support the demolition of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since US President Donald Trump announced his decision in December 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

The decision dealt a serious blow to Palestinians who view the eastern sector of the occupied city as the capital of their future state.

On December 21, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli “capital.”

In an attempt to prevent the passing of the resolution, the American president threatened reprisals against the countries that backed the measure, which had earlier faced a US veto at the UN Security Council.

Israel also rejected the world body’s resolution while thanking Trump for his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.

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