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Dozens of Israeli settlers perform rituals at Al-Aqsa

Oct. 21, 2018 1:45 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 21, 2018 3:24 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, on Sunday, through the Moroccan Gate.

Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, said that heavily armed Israeli forces escorted at least 49 Israeli settlers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to perform religious Jewish rituals and prayers.

Al-Dibs added that the Israeli settlers entered through the Moroccan Gate and exited the compound by the Chain Gate.

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.

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