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Israeli minister and settlers storm Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Israeli minister and settlers storm Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound

Ownership of the Haram al-Sharif is seen as central to the Arab-Israeli conflict [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 22 April, 2019

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Israel's minister of agriculture and 170 settlers storm Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound on Monday.

Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and dozens of settlers stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, according to officials.

Witnesses said that Ariel and the settlers marched into the Haram al-Sharif, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam, via the Moroccan Gate under the watch of Israeli forces.

"Ariel along with 170 settlers stormed the compound and performed Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque," Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority, told Turkey's Anadolu Agency

The raid coincided with the third day of the Jewish religious festival of Passover. Ariel, who serves in the Israeli Knesset for the ultranationalist Jewish Home Party, has participated in similar raids on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the past.

The Haram al-Sharif, or Temple Mount, is a central part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians fearing Israel may one day seek to assert further control over it.

It is located in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

It is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had instituted a ban on Israeli lawmakers visiting the site in November 2015 as a measure to ease tensions with the Palestinians, however, raids have continued.

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