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In video - Israeli minister, Knesset member storm Al-Aqsa

July 8, 2018 10:19 A.M. (Updated: July 9, 2018 12:18 P.M.)
JEUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Uri Ariel, stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, escorted under the security of Israeli forces on Sunday.

Local witnesses told Ma'an that the Minister of Agriculture stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Mughrabi Gate on Sunday morning, while Israeli forces spread out in the Al-Aqsa compound.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift the ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months, after incursions were banned since October 2015.

According to Hebrew-language news outlet, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu allowed members of the Knesset, mostly right-wing extremists who support the demolishment of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months.

Sources added, Netanyahu pointed out that his decision was taken due to the recommendations of the Minister of Homeland Security, Gilad Erdan, and the General Commissioner of Israeli Police, Roni al-Sheikh, and the Jerusalem District Police Chief, Yoram Halevy, to once again allow Knesset members the possibility of limited visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque denounced the storming of the compound by Ariel and that the morning intrusion comes after the decision allowing Knesset members to visit the compound every three months.

WAFA reported that Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman, Yousef al-Mahmoud, spoke out about the decision to lift the ban calling it a “serious provocation” and “encouraging harm to one of Islam’s holiest sites.”

Shortly after the Minister of Agriculture stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, another Knesset member, Sharren Haskel of the Likud party, an Israeli right-wing political party, stormed the compound.

Haskel confirmed that this was her first time that she has had an opportunity to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque in three years, and claimed that this is a scared place for Jewish religion.

The Palestinian Ministry of Information described these intrusions as a public call for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

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.

While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Despite the agreement with Jordan -- which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa -- Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site, often under armed guard. Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site, and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions.

The videos below show both Knesset members separately storming the Al-Aqsa compound:

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