Hudreds of Jewish settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported on Tuesday.
According to the Palestinian News and Info Agency, Israeli Agriculture Minister Yuri Ariel lead the Al-Aqsa raid.
The settlers were marking the holy Jewish holy day of Youm Kippur.
Thousands of settlers had stormed the courtyard of Al-Buraq Wall in the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque the night before to perform religious rituals of Yom Kippur, amid tight restrictions on the freedom of movement of surrounding residents.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs Husam Abu Al-Rub said in a statement on Tuesday that these “intrusions are aimed at the independence of Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially in light of practices that have gone beyond provocative daily violations, to systematic and deliberate violations in order to control and Judaize the area.”
He added that the “new Israeli campaign is based on forging of facts and the imposition of a fait accompli policy testifying to the hateful racism practiced by the settlers on the holy sites.”
The mosque has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the third holiest for Muslims, and for their part, Jews refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel captured the Old City and the rest of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war, occupying and later annexing it.
Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s authority in East Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of a future Palestinian state that also includes the West Bank and Gaza. They are also sensitive toward the presence of Israeli security forces in and around the Noble Sanctuary.
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