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Israeli settlers and soldiers break into Ibrahimi Mosque at dark

Sept. 25, 2009 10:28 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2009 2:14 P.M.)
Hebron – Ma’an – At least 140 Israeli settlers, protected by a dozen Israeli jeeps, took over the area around the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, entered the building and performed ceremonies for the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday on Thursday night.

The Mosque, also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, was divided into two sections in the 1990s following the attack of a Jewish extremist on Muslim worshipers. The site, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, is heavily guarded by Israeli soldiers who ostensibly protect the Israeli settlers who worship in the Jewish section of the building. The site was closed to Muslim worshipers during the Eid holiday and handed over to Israeli control for the Rosh Hashana Jewish holiday.

The second total takeover of the area, which was not announced in advance, was received by many in the area as a warning sign. Head of Waqf department in Hebron, Zeid Al-Ja’barai called the incident “dangerous, as it warns of bad consequences.” He said it was the first time so many settlers had descended on the area without prior notification since before the separation of the building into two parts.

The Hebron Waqf directorate and the Palestinian Ministry of Waqf issued a statement saying they “rejected the actions,” where Israeli settlers were permitted access to the Muslim, Palestinian side, of the building. Al-Ja’bari said he feared the effort signaled an Israeli drive to take over the entire building and turn it into a synagogue.
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