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Israeli minister, settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound

Feb. 5, 2019 3:01 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2019 1:28 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Minister of Agriculture stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, on Tuesday morning, along with a group of Israeli settlers and under armed security by Israeli forces.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Israeli minister Uri Ariel stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Moroccans Gate, along with a group of Israeli settlers, under armed security by Israeli police forces.

Israeli police forces also escorted the minister and settlers through their tour across the compound.

Al-Dibs added that Israeli ministers and members of the Knesset have recently been escalating their visits to the Al-Aqsa compound.

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.

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