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Situation on edge of large-scale confrontation with Israel, Islamic Jihad warns

In this file picture, Palestinian fighters from the Islamic Jihad resistance movement attend the funeral of comrades killed in an Israeli operation against the Gaza Strip, during their funeral at the Bureij refugee camp in the central part of the besieged coastal enclave. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement has censured the recurrent desecration of the sacred al-Aqsa Mosque compound and other holy places across the Israeli-occupied territories, warning of a serious face-off with the occupying regime.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi denounced Monday morning’s incursion of hundreds of extremist Jewish settlers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds, calling it a “brazen attack on Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.”

“The assault on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and performance of provocative rituals in the courtyard of the sacred site reveals the stubborn determination of the far-right administration of the occupying Israeli regime to implement its evil plans. Such moves are viewed as a declaration of war on al-Quds and the entire Palestinian nation,” Salmi said.

“We are teetering on the edge of a full-fledged confrontation and the situation would go off at any time in case all relevant parties do not fulfill their responsibilities to stop the crimes of the Israeli regime. We would then recognize no reservations to defend al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.

Salmi asserted that Palestinians are fairly capable of defending their land and sanctities, as they proved during the 11-day Operation Sword of al-Quds in May 2021.

Gaza-based resistance forces launched Operation Sword of al-Quds in defense of Palestinians in al-Quds against Israel’s atrocities and desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque.

During that operation, Palestinian resistance groups overwhelmed the Israeli regime by firing over 4,000 rockets and missiles into the occupied territories. Israel, shocked by the unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza, announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21 that year, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.

Meanwhile, according to local sources, at least 323 Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque in groups through its Bab al-Maghariba gate and toured its courtyard under tight police guard.

Footage circulating on the internet showed two settlers waving Israeli flags while police officers escorted them.

Other settlers performed full prostration with their bodies pressed flat on the ground after entering the mosque compound, amid restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshipers to the holy site.

Hardline Israeli officials and 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.

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 as part of a decades-old agreement between Jordan – the custodian of Islamic and Christian sites in al-Quds – and Israel in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East al-Quds in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.

Back in May last year, an Israeli court upheld a ban on Jewish prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after an earlier lower court’s decision stirred outrage among various Palestinians and across the Muslim world.

Judge of the district court in al-Quds Aryeh Romanov on October 8 confirmed that Jews are barred from worshiping openly at the site, and only Muslims are permitted to pray there.

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