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Over 100 Israeli settlers tour Al-Aqsa for Hanukkah

Dec. 5, 2018 4:17 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 7, 2018 10:40 A.M.)
(File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Over a hundred of Israeli settlers toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, for the third day of Hanukkah, on Wednesday.

Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, said that 152 Israeli settlers entered the Al-Aqsa compound through the Moroccans Gate.

Al-Dibs added that Israeli police forces were deployed across the area, as settlers provocatively toured the compound.

Witnesses mentioned that Israeli settlers also performed Jewish religious rituals.
Israeli right-wing groups called for increasing visits to the Al-Aqsa compound during the holiday.

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 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.

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