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Knesset member, dozens of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa

Sept. 30, 2018 11:44 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 3, 2018 1:09 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Knesset member, Shuli Mualem, along with dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, said that dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in successive groups and among them was MK Shuli Mualem, for the Jewish Home political party.

Al-Dibs added that Mualem along with the Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate, under heavy protection by the Israeli forces, who were also deployed across the compound since early morning.

Many of the Israeli settlers performed religious Jewish prayers while in the compound.

Al-Dibs mentioned that Israeli forces and police set up iron barriers at the entrances of the compound and confiscated ID’s of Muslim worshipers before allowing them entry.

It is noteworthy that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift a ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members, 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, after incursions were banned since October 2015.

The Knesset has set out a detailed document detailing the instructions that Knesset members seeking to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque must comply with. The document states that every member of the Knesset who wishes to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque must inform the security official of the parliament 24 hours prior to the visit.

The document also mentioned that Jewish Knesset members may only enter through the Moroccan Gate into the Al-Aqsa compound and must abide by the rules that apply to non-Muslim visitors. Meanwhile, Arab Knesset members will enter the Al-Aqsa through the Gate of the Tribes.

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.

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