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In video - Israeli minister, group of settlers storm Al-Aqsa

Feb. 26, 2019 11:00 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 28, 2019 12:18 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem under armed security by Israeli forces, on Tuesday.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Israeli Minister Ariel was heading a group of Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccans Gate, which has been under Israeli control since the occupation of Jerusalem City.

Al-Dibs pointed out that Ariel took footage of the al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy) prayer area that was opened recently.

Prayer area of the al-Rahma Gate was closed Monday evening upon order by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reopened on Tuesday Morning.

Israeli police forces were deployed around al-Rahma prayer area since early morning hours and took footage of Palestinian guards who opened the area.

The number of Israeli MK’s, who storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, has increased the past few months after Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, decided to lift a ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members to visit the compound every three months, after incursions were banned since October 2015.

Netanyahu allowed members of the Knesset, mostly right-wing extremists, who support the demolition of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa compound once every three months.

After Netanyahu lifted the ban, Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman, Youssef al-Mahmoud, spoke out about the decision to lift the ban calling it a "serious provocation" and "encouraging harm to one of Islam’s holiest sites."

However, in the past two months, MKs such as Shuli Mualem, Yehuda Glick, and Uri Ariel have repeatedly entered the compound, violating the “every three months entry.”

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.

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