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Palestinians in Jerusalem angered as Israeli settlers storm reopened Al-Aqsa mosque Open in fullscreen

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Palestinians in Jerusalem angered as Israeli settlers storm reopened Al-Aqsa mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 May, 2020

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As the Al-Aqsa Mosque re-opened its doors to Palestinian worshippers, Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of the mosque and held Jewish prayers, angering muslims. Three Palestinians were reportedly arrested.
Dozens of Jewish settlers entered the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Sunday, accompanied by Israeli forces. The settlers stormed the mosque as it re-opened after two months, angering Muslim Palestinians.

The mosque's director, Omar Kiswani, told Anadolu Agency that over 100 settlers entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex shortly after the site was reopened.

The move "came to upset the worshippers," Kiswani said.

Kiswani said Israeli forces also arrested three Palestinians – a youth and two girls – from inside the mosque's courtyard, but did not specify the reason for arrests.

"These incursions and arrests will not alter the Arab and Islamic nature of Al-Aqsa mosque," Kiswani was quoted by the agency as saying.

Angered by videos, which showed Israeli settlers strolling along the mosque's courtyard and holding Jewish prayers, Palestinians took to twitter to vent their anger.

"As if the opening of the Al-Quds mosque was for the sake of the settlers, and not for the Muslims. We can't find the words to express our anger as muslims," one person said.

The incident prompted Jerusalem's Grand Mufti, Mohammad Hussein, to warn against repeated calls from Israeli settlers to storm the mosque and called on Mulsim and Arab nations to unite against threats made by extremist Jews. 

"Protecting Al-Aqsa is not an individual responsibility, but a collective responsibility of all Muslims," the Mufti said.

Read more: Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem reopens after two months

Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Jewish Israelis call the area the Temple Mount and claim it was historically a site of two Jewish temples. 

Al-Aqsa reopened on Sunday, allowing worshippers in protective masks to enter the compound ahead of the first prayers of the day, for the first time in over two months since it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, Israeli forces arrested the Imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, after banning him from praying in the mosque earlier in the year.

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