Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound again in provocative move

Israeli settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque compound again in provocative move

Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, have again stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds, a move seen as provocative by Palestinians.

Palestine's official Wafa news agency said on Sunday that scores of Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, entered the courtyards of the holy site through the Moroccan Gate, also known as the Mughrabi Gate.

“Witnesses said scores of Israeli settlers entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate in groups and performed rituals and Talmudic prayers there under the protection of Israeli police,” the report said.

Earlier this month, amid the Israeli airstrike on Gaza, hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque breaking decades-old agreements which govern the holy Muslim site.

The storming occurred when the Israeli military onslaught on Gaza entered its third day, killing nearly 50 Palestinians and leaving hundreds injured.

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.

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.

In May 2021, frequent acts of violence against Palestinian worshipers at 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.

Palestinians want the occupied West Bank as part of their future independent state and view al-Quds’ eastern sector as the capital of their future sovereign state.

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