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Israeli rightists enter Aqsa compound under armed guard

Feb. 11, 2015 3:10 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 12, 2015 8:05 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli rightists and intelligence officers entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday via the Moroccan Gate.

Witnesses told Ma'an that 55 Israelis, including rightists, intelligence officers, and students, toured the holy site.

Palestinian worshipers chanted "Allah Akbar", or "God is Great", as a small group attempted to perform religious rituals in the compound.

Another group of Jewish students sat on the ground and raised the victory sign with their hands before begin escorted out of the area by Israeli police, witnesses added.

The Al-Aqsa 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. However, some religious Zionist groups advocate the destruction of the mosques currently on the site in order to construct a third temple.
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