Scores of Israeli settlers break into Al-Aqsa

JERUSALEM, Dozens of Israeli settlers, heavily guarded by Israeli police, broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem today and performed rituals throughout its courtyards, according to witnesses.

Located in occupied Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims. It was also Islam’s first Qibla, the direction towards which Muslims must turn to pray, before that was changed to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.

Israeli far-right activists have repeatedly pushed for an increased presence by Israeli settlers at Al-Aqsa, despite a joint guardianship agreement between Israel and Jordan that bans the entry of Jewish settlers to the holy site.

Jerusalem’s Islamic Waqf, which manages the Al-Aqsa Mosque, has repeatedly described the settlers’ tours as “provocative”, and said that Palestinian worshippers and guards at Al-Aqsa feel uncomfortable with the presence of Israeli police and settlers touring the Muslim holy site.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the Six-Day War in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency