JERUSALEM Dozens of Israeli settlers broke into the Haram al-Sharif compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday, escorted and protected by Israeli military police, local news agency Al-Quds reported.
Messianic Jews are hoping to establish an increased presence on the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, among the most important Muslim shrines in the world and potent symbols of Palestinian nationalism.
In September, a total of 5,487 far-right Jewish settlers broke into the Haram al-Sharif compound, Al-Quds said.
“There is a perceptible increase both in the number of settlers raiding Al-Aqsa, as well as in the religious rituals that they conduct on the site, Khalid Zabarqa, a lawyer and expert on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, told Middle East Eye. They grow increasingly audacious.
Palestinian worshippers who did not give the settlers a wide berth were detained for hours, Zabarqa said.
According to local media, Israeli police also barred three employees of the Islamic Waqf – two guards and a cleaner – from entering Al-Aqsa mosque on Wednesday while the group of Israelis were inside the compound. The employees were also handed letters to show up at an Israeli police station, local media reported.
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