Extremist Israelis storm, perform rituals at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex

Extremist Israelis storm, perform rituals at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex
Hundreds of Israeli extremists entered the holy site, under the protection of Israeli police, official Palestinian media reported.
2 min read
24 April, 2024
The Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, located in occupied East Jerusalem, is the holiest Muslim site in Palestine [Nick Brundle Photography/Getty-file photo]

Extremist Israelis stormed occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque complex on Wednesday, under the protection of Israeli police.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that they numbered in the hundreds, and carried out rituals at site, the third holiest in Islam.

It comes after around 172 Israeli extremists raided the site and performed rituals on Monday, according to Wafa.

Under a longstanding status-quo agreement, prayer at Al-Aqsa is reserved for Muslims.

While Al-Aqsa is a highly revered holy site for Muslims, Jews consider the complex the most sacred site in their religion, believing it to be the location of their two ancient temples.

Many Israeli extremists seek to either divide Al-Aqsa between Jews and Muslims in terms of time and space available, or to replace the mosque with a new temple.

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Al-Aqsa is located in the Old City, part of occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities and settlers seek to strip East Jerusalem of its Palestinian Muslim and Christian character and turn it into a Jewish-Israeli area.

Palestinians view the city's eastern sector, which Israel illegally annexed in 1980 after capturing it in 1967, as the capital of their future independent state.

Almost the entire international community rejects Israel's annexation and sovereignty claims over Jerusalem.

Across East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank, there are more than 700,000 Israeli illegal settlers.

The construction and expansion of settlements are aimed at taking over Palestinian territory.

Settlements breach international law and are considered a key barrier to a workable two-state solution as they carve up Palestinian land.

Al-Aqsa is the holiest Muslim site in Palestine, followed by the Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The Ibrahimi Mosque has been split into two parts – one side remains for Muslims while the other was transformed into Jewish space.

The site was the location of a massacre in 1994, when Israel-American extremist Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 people.

A further 125 people were also wounded in the attack.