JERUSALEM, Sunday, August 07, 2022 (WAFA) – Hundreds of Israeli settlers escorted by Israeli police broke today into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem and performed rituals across its courtyards, according to witnesses. The provocative tours are still going on until this moment.
This comes amid calls by so-called Temple Mount groups, who seek to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple, on their followers to be present at the Muslim holy place today to mark the Tisha B’av holiday, a day of fasting marking the alleged destruction of the two Jewish temples more than two thousand years ago.
WAFA correspondent said groups of Israeli settlers led by extremist Israeli rabbi Yehuda Glick entered the holy site in groups starting at about 7:00 am, noting that other groups of settlers are still waiting near the Moroccan Gate to be allowed gradually into the holy site.
The settlers were reportedly confronted by a handful of Palestinian Muslim worshipers who held a night vigil inside the compound in an attempt to foil the Israeli raids into the holy site.
Earlier today, Israeli occupation forces arrested two Palestinians at one of the gates leading to the compound. The two were not yet identified.
Israeli police also imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Palestinians to the compound and placed strict restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshipers to the compound during the presence of Israeli settlers there.
Since 2003, the Israeli occupation authorities have allowed settlers into the compound almost on a daily basis, with the exclusion of Friday, the Muslim day of rest and worship.
The Islamic Waqf, the Jordanian authority in charge of the holy sites in Jerusalem, has repeatedly described the settlers' presence in Al-Aqsa Mosque as "provocative", saying that Palestinian worshippers and guards at Al-Aqsa feel uncomfortable with the presence of Israeli police and settlers touring the Islamic holy site.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the Six-Day War in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community.