More than 1,000 Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque for a fourth consecutive day, infuriating Palestinians, as the top preacher of the mosque warns the Tel Aviv regime that such repeated storming of the holy site is “playing with fire.”
On Wednesday, 1,100 Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of East al-Quds under the protection of the regime’s forces, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported.
The latest provocation, for a 4th day in a row, occurred amidst rising tension and Arab and international condemnation and warning of an outbreak of uncontrollable violence.
During their four-hour tour, Jewish fanatics roamed the sacred grounds, officials from the Islamic Waqf department, which is in charge of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Wafa, adding that the Wednesday’s figure was higher than the previous three days.
Reports said that Israeli settlers and soldiers attacked Palestinian worshipers inside the compound, all in the name of observing the Jewish holiday of Passover.
In press statements on Wednesday, Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, the preacher of the al-Aqsa Mosque and former Grand Mufti of al-Quds, warned Israel that the repeated incursion by its settlers is “playing with fire”, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
He further stressed the importance of maintaining vigil inside the holy site to protect it, adding, “We do not trust Israel because treachery is its inherent nature.”
Sheikh Sabri also underlined that the Mosque is not for Palestinians alone, but rather for the entire Arabs and Muslims, calling on all Arabs and Muslims to take part in defending their holy site. “Everything is possible in Jerusalem al-Quds,” he further warned.
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, for its part, also denounced the repeated incursions by Israeli settlers, stressing that such moves “will not impose a temporal or spatial division and will not change the Islamic and Arab character of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
“While we condemn the occupation enemy and the colonial settlers' crimes, we warn them against thinking about allowing the ‘animal slaughtering’ or the ‘Zionist flags march’ into our holy sites, as the occupation leadership bears full responsibility for the repercussions of these dangerous and provocative measures,” Hamas added in a statement.
The resistance movement further called on Palestinian people to “continue their mobilization in al-Aqsa Mosque to protect Jerusalem and thwart the occupation's malicious plans. We also call on the international community to assume its responsibilities and stop its double-standard policy in dealing with our Palestinian people and their just cause with the double standards policy.”
Hardline Israeli legislators and extremist settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.
Back in May last year, frequent acts of violence against Palestinian worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque led to an 11-day war between Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli regime, during which the regime killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, 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 in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.