Middle East

Dozens of Israelis storm Al-Aqsa complex for ‘prayers’

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during 1967 Arab-Israeli War

Zain Khalil   | 10.10.2021
Dozens of Israelis storm Al-Aqsa complex for ‘prayers’

JERUSALEM

Dozens of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday and performed “silent prayers”, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

Wafa said the settlers moved into the site through its Al-Mughrabi Gate, southwest of the mosque, under the protection of Israeli police.

Employees of the Islamic Endowment Department, which oversees the holy sites in Jerusalem, tried to prevent the settlers from performing their rituals inside the complex, but were prevented by Israeli police, the agency said.

Last week, an Israeli judge issued an unprecedented decision allowing Jews to perform “silent prayers” inside the complex, saying the ritual was not a “criminal act”.

The decision has provoked an international outcry, prompting the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem to annul the decision, according to Israeli media.

Palestinian lawyer Khaled Zabarqa, however, insisted that there was no court ruling annulling the judge’s decision, describing it as an Israeli attempt to “mislead the public opinion”.

"Until now, there is no court ruling reversing the judge’s decision allowing the silent prayers for Jews at the complex,” he said.

Israeli police began allowing settler incursions into the Al-Aqsa complex in 2003, despite repeated condemnations by the Islamic Endowment Department.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, a move never recognized by the international community.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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