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Israeli minister, dozens of settlers raid Al-Aqsa compound

April 22, 2019 11:32 A.M. (Updated: April 23, 2019 4:40 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, the third day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, along with dozens of Israeli settlers.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, said that Ariel, along with at least 170 Israeli settlers, raided the Al-Aqsa compound via the Moroccans Gate under armed security by Israeli forces.

Witnesses reported that several Israeli settlers performed prayers and religious rituals during the raid.

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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