A senior leader of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says Israel is playing with fire by allowing extremists to frequent al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam.
Khaled Meshaal, a former Hamas chief who currently leads the group’s diaspora office, said on Monday that Israel should await a harsh response from resistance groups in Palestine because of its support for the increased presence of Jewish extremists at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Meshaal said the surge in the incursions is a plot supported by the Israeli hawkish administration to eventually destroy the mosque and build a temple there instead.
He said the number of settlers trespassing on the compounds of al-Aqsa Mosque has doubled since 2017, adding that the regime has been clearly emboldened by its success in normalizing diplomatic ties with certain Arab and Muslim countries.
Meshaal said, however, that resistance groups across the occupied Palestinian territories will give a decisive response to the regime to neutralize its plots and conspiracies.
“The resistance will not allow encroachment on al-Aqsa and this confrontation will be the biggest response to the crimes of the occupying enemy. The enemy is playing with fire … the resistance is capable of neutralizing the occupying regime’s plots and schemes,” he said.
He advised countries seeking normalization with Israel to correct their mistakes, adding that closer ties with the regime would pose a serious threat to Palestine and the Arab world.
He further called on Palestinians to hold sit-ins at al-Aqsa Mosque, while urging Arab countries to take action against Israel’s crimes.
Calls for regular presence of Jewish extremists in al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the occupied city of al-Quds, have increased in recent days concurrent with holidays marking the Jewish New Year.
The incursions come as praying and holding religious rituals in the Mosque is regarded as an exclusive right for the Muslims.
The incursions have caused further tension in the Palestinian territories, especially in the occupied West Bank, where resistance groups have ramped up their retaliatory attacks on Israeli settlers and military forces in recent weeks.