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Israeli settlers perform prayers at Al-Aqsa for Jewish holiday

Sept. 25, 2018 12:27 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 25, 2018 2:38 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under armed security by Israeli forces, on Tuesday, through the Moroccan Gate and performed Jewish religious prayers.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the occasion of their week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.

Sources added that Israeli forces and police were deployed across the compound as Israeli settlers performed religious prayers.

The Israeli police also confiscated ID cards of Muslim worshipers at the entrances of the mosque before allowing them entry.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Endowment Department (Waqf) and other local Muslim committees warned of the increasing visits by Israeli settlers to the compound, highlighting that several Israelis performed prayers and religious inside the compound, in violation of a long-standing agreement between Israel and the Endowment preventing non-Muslim prayer in Al-Aqsa.

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 this agreement, the Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site -- often under the protection of armed guards. 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.

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