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Israeli rightists, intelligence officers tour Aqsa compound

Nov. 13, 2013 3:00 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 13, 2013 10:08 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) – Israeli intelligence officers and rightists entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard Wednesday under protection of Israeli police officers, eyewitnesses said.

Onlookers said dozens of "settlers" and intelligence officers toured the southern mosque, the Marawani mosque underground and the Dome of the Rock mosque.

Separately, one of the rightists verbally assaulted a Palestinian girl who studied in the Al-Aqsa Mosque school.

A heated argument erupted as a result between Jewish and Muslim worshipers before Israeli police officers seized the identity card of a young Palestinian man.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

On Tuesday, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that Jordan has rejected an Israeli request to allow Jews to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Maariv quoted Jordan's envoy for holy sites in Jerusalem Abdel Naser Nassar as saying that Jewish "extremists" would not be allowed into the mosque compound.

The request was an attempt to divide al-Aqsa as part of the Jerusalem "Judiazation" plans, he said.

Knesset member from The Jewish Home party Zvulun Kalfa said he was not aware that “any organization or religious group made this request from Jordan.”

The report added that the peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel states that each part must allow the other access to religious and historic sites.
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