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Right-wing Israelis storm Solomon's Pools near Bethlehem

May 9, 2019 11:08 A.M. (Updated: May 12, 2019 11:36 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of right-wing Israeli settlers entered and held religious prayers at the Solomon's Pools area south of Bethlehem, in the central occupied West Bank, on Thursday, under the protection of heavily armed Israeli forces.

According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli forces sealed off the area as the settlers stormed Solomon’s Pools and surrounded the three pools where they performed Jewish religious rituals.

Sources added that such incursions have increased in the past few months.

Visits by Israeli Jews to sites across the West Bank often cause tensions with local Palestinians, as these visits are accompanied by large armed escorts.

Solomon's Pools are three large cisterns -- each more than 100 meters long -- that were historically part of an ancient aqueduct system connected to Jerusalem.

Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent repaired the cisterns in the 17th century and built a fortress beside them, which still stands today. Many Jews, however, believe that the pools are named for the Biblical Solomon.

Over 600,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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