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326 Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa to perform prayers

Sept. 18, 2018 4:21 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 19, 2018 4:29 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, on Tuesday, on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement.

A Ma'an reporter said that dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the compound through the Moroccans Gate in successive groups to hold celebrations and perform religious Jewish prayers in the compound.

Spokesman of the Islamic Endowment Department (Waqf), Firas al-Dibs, said that Israeli forces assaulted staff members of the Endowment Department, as well as several other Palestinians present in the compound.

Medical sources confirmed that seven of the assaulted Palestinians and staff members suffered various bruises on the chest, back, and shoulders. The injured were immediately transferred to a nearby hospital to receive necessary medical treatment.

Al-Dibs confirmed that Israeli forces detained Raed Zghayyar, a staff member of the Rehabilitation Committee, while in the compound and was taken to an Israeli police station in the Old City.

Another two Palestinians were also detained from Jerusalem City by the Israeli police; the detainees were not yet identified.

In total, at least 326 Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque since the early morning hours of Tuesday, according to the Islamic Endowment Department.

Israeli settlers had recently increased visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Jewish rituals and prayers due to the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday also known as Day of Atonement.

Sources added that Israeli forces and police were deployed across the compound to provide security to Israeli settlers.

Israeli police confiscated ID's of Muslim visitors to the compound, including women and youths, before allowing them entry.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces and police also spread out in the Old City of Jerusalem and across all the streets leading up to the compound.

Additionally, as a part of the annual Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Israeli police began to seal off several main streets in Jerusalem and banned movement of vehicles in various areas, as well as imposed closure of crossings with the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel's illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Despite the agreement with Jordan -- which is the custodian of Al-Aqsa -- Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site, often under armed guard. Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site, and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions.

In the videos below Israeli forces are seen detaining a Palestinian, while assaulting many others.

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