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Palestine: Jewish settlers storm Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Israel closes Ibrahimi mosque to Muslims

26th Sep 2018
Palestine: Jewish settlers storm Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Israel closes Ibrahimi mosque to Muslims

JERUSALEM (AA) – Hundreds of Jewish settlers on Tuesday forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to a Palestinian official. Meanwhile,  the Israeli authorities have closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) to Muslim worshipers for two days during the week long Jewish holiday of Sukkot,

“Three hundred settlers stormed the holy compound and performed Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque,” Firas al-Dibs, a Palestinian official with Jerusalem’s Religious Endowments Authority, told Anadolu Agency.

He said settlers were backed by dozens of Israeli policemen, who arrested two authority employees and a Palestinian worshiper.

“The settlers stormed the compound through the Al-Magharbah Gate and stayed for five hours before leaving through the Al-Silsila Gate,” he added.

According to al-Dibs, extremist Jewish groups had called on followers to converge on the Al-Aqsa to mark the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories — including occupied East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa is located — since U.S.

President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

Meanwhile, Ibarhimi Mosque Director, Hafthi Abu Sneneh, told Anadolu Agency, that the Israeli authorities told him the “mosque would be closed from Tuesday morning to Wednesday night.”

“The site was closed to Muslims for the Jewish Sukkot holidays, while being kept open to Jewish settlers who are allowed to perform Talmudic rituals under police protection,” Abu Sneneh said.

Revered by both Muslims and Jews, Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque complex is believed to mark the burial sites of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

After the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque by Jewish extremist settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities divided the mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.

[Photo: Israeli security forces take a Palestinian into custody as Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound in East Jerusalem on September 18, 2018. Photographer: JERUSALEM ISLAMIC WAQF / HANDOUT/AA]

 

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