JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday night to inspect the premises after detaining a Palestinian man following evening prayers, in the latest of dozens of Israeli detentions carried out on Palestinians as Jewish Israelis marked the start of the Passover holiday.
Compound director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian man as he left the compound following evening prayers. Israeli forces raided the compound several hours later, he said.
The Israeli officers claimed that they were searching for a bag belonging to the Palestinian man who was detained earlier, which they said was hidden in the compound, according to al-Kiswani.
Israeli forces inspected storehouses and surrounding gardens but did not find anything.
Al-Kiswani added that on Tuesday morning some 30 Israeli settlers had entered the compound from the Moroccans' Gate during Passover celebrations. The settlers toured the compound under Israeli military protection, he said.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.
, Israeli forces detained at least 30 Palestinians during raids across occupied East Jerusalem and subsequently banned them from Al-Aqsa Mosque following their release from Israeli detention.
Three Palestinians from northern Israel were also banned from the holy site over a Facebook post related to Passover, amid a security crackdown imposed by Israel leading up to the Jewish holiday.
“For (Palestinian) Jerusalemites, the Jewish holiday season means an escalation in arbitrary detentions, house raids, and searches -- measures that terrify families. The installation of additional security checkpoints, particularly at the Al-Aqsa Mosque (compound)’s gates and in the Old City, only increase tensions in Jerusalem,” Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) head in Jerusalem Nadi Qaws told Ma’an last week.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces have almost entirely sealed the occupied West Bank
-- excluding urgent humanitarian cases -- for more than a week for Passover, preventing scores of Palestinians with Israeli-issued permits to access their jobs in Jerusalem and Israel.
Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.
The closures do not apply to Israeli settlers residing illegally in the West Bank.