Israeli Settlers Break Into Al-Aqsa Mosque

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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