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Al-Aqsa Mosque put on lockdown after a rock is thrown at a group of Israelis

June 11, 2017 2:59 P.M. (Updated: June 11, 2017 10:55 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces imposed a brief lockdown on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, denying entry or exit to Muslim worshipers, after one rock was allegedly thrown at a group of extremist Israelis who were touring the holy site.

Director of the mosque Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani said that Israeli forces were heavily deployed at every entrance to the compound and “imposed a siege” for about an hour.

Palestinian eyewitnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers checked the ID cards for all Palestinians who attempted to leave the mosque through either the Moroccans' Gate or Chain Gate.

Witnesses estimated that more than 60 “Israeli settlers” took to the compound in the early morning.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri wrote in a statement that “a rock was thrown at a group of Jewish visitors -- one whom was slightly injured,” which she said came amid “ongoing visitation of foreigners and non-Muslims to Al-Aqsa compound.”

“By an order issued by the Jerusalem police commander and part of field procedures to search for suspects involved, the gates of the compound were closed until suspects were detained.”

She said that suspects, who were from Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, were taken in for interrogation, after which “gates were reopened and life went back to normal in the compound.”

Local watchdog the Wadi Hilweh Information center said that two Palestinian "youths" from Nablus were detained.

Two days ago, on the second Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, a group of right-wing Jewish Israeli women dressed up in religious Muslim clothing, reportedly in an attempt to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in contravention of agreements regimenting the holy site.

Following Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the compound to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area.

Israeli forces nonetheless regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. 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.
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