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Israeli forces assault worshipers at Al-Aqsa, detain 1

July 17, 2014 4:53 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2014 1:44 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa mosque compound Thursday and assaulted worshipers while providing security to a group of right-wing Jewish extremists, witnesses said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that a group of settlers entered the Al-Aqsa compounds through the Moroccan Gate while provoking worshipers, who in turn chanted "Allah Akbar," or "God is Great" in Arabic.

Israeli police on the scene then called special police forces to secure the group as they moved through the compound and then out through the Chain Gate, before they reportedly assaulted worshipers with batons and pushed them to the ground causing bruises to many.

The special forces detained an employee who works for the Al-Aqsa endowment office and took him to police station located at the Chain Gate, witnesses said.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that there were no clashes but "only Arabs shouting Allah Akbar," adding that the individual was detained for "trying to attack the group" that had entered the compound.

Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

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.

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.
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