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Hundreds of Israeli settlers break into al-Aqsa Mosque under police protection

Israeli settlers storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East al-Quds under the protection of the regime’s forces on April 11, 2023. (Photo by the Palestinian Information Center)

Hundreds of Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East al-Quds to mark a Jewish holiday, in yet another provocative move against Palestinian worshipers.

The Palestinian Information Center, citing the al-Qastal news website, which reports events in al-Quds, said that at least 788 extremist Israeli settlers broke into the compound on Tuesday and toured its courtyards under the protection of the regime’s forces during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Some of the settlers performed rituals and Talmudic prayers in the mosque’s courtyards, as others received lectures from rabbis about the Temple Mount during their tour at the holy site.

According to eyewitnesses, Israeli police forces escorted groups of Israeli settlers into the al-Aqsa courtyard through the Moroccan Gate, also known as the Mughrabi Gate.

Muslim worshipers, for their part, spread through their Mosque’s courtyards, performing prayers, reading the holy Qur’an and chanting religious slogans in protest at the settlers’ desecration of the holy site.

Earlier in the day, Israeli police imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the mosque.

Dozens of Palestinians performed prayers on the streets leading to the mosque after being prevented from entering the courtyard. Muslim worshipers also chanted slogans in protest at the settlers’ desecration of the holy site.

The latest incursions took place a week after the occupying regime forces raided the compound, brutally assaulting dozens of Palestinian worshipers, who were observing the holy month of Ramadan there.

Heavily armed Israeli forces stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound last Tuesday before firing tear gas and stun grenades into the Qibli prayer hall, where hundreds of men, women, elderly people, and children were staying overnight to pray, in an attempt to evacuate them.

Israeli forces have wounded and rounded up hundreds of Palestinians during the attacks that have seen a rise since the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan. 

Illegal settler incursions to al-Aqsa Mosque under police protection and provocative rituals at the holy site have been on the rise in recent years, which has led to daily confrontations with Palestinians at the mosque, with many injured, arrested and killed.

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.

This comes as resistance fighters based in Gaza fired at least 30 rockets from southern Lebanon into the Israeli-occupied territories in retaliation for Israeli aggression.

The Israeli regime's warplanes bombed Gaza and southern Lebanon, but it avoided going further in fear of sparking a wider conflict.  

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