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Israeli group visits Aqsa compound with police escort

July 15, 2013 11:40 A.M. (Updated: July 16, 2013 2:12 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa compound on Monday under armed guard, a local foundation said.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage said the group entered the compound through the Moroccan gate accompanied by an Israeli police escort.

Israeli forces deployed at the entrances to the compound and briefly detained two children, the group said.

The mufti of Palestine, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, said that Israeli authorities provide protection to extremist groups that visit the Aqsa compound and called on the Organization of the Islamic Conference to protect Palestinian holy sites.

At least 180 Israelis, including 18 Rabbi's, toured the Al-Aqsa compound on Sunday.

Israeli politicians, such as Likud's Moshe Feiglin, have in the past called for Jewish prayers at the compound, and control and access to the holy site is a particularly sensitive religious and political issue.

The Al-Aqsa compound, containing the mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is the third holiest site in Islam and abuts the site where Jews believe the ancient Second Temple stood.

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