Israeli extremists again storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during Ramadan

Israeli extremists again storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during Ramadan
The large groups of Israeli radicals – whose incursion on Sunday came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – were under Israeli forces' protection.
2 min read
26 March, 2023
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is often targeted by Jewish extremists [Lanzellotto Antonello/AGF/UIG/Getty-archive]

Israeli extremists again stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday after Muslims were pushed out of the sacred place by Israeli forces.

The large groups of radicals – whose incursion at the occupied East Jerusalem site came during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar – were under Israeli forces' protection.

The storming of Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam, began on Sunday morning amid the removal of a number of Muslims from the mosque's courtyards by Israeli forces, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

The Jewish extremists conducted acts of worship at the site, according to the Islamic Waqf – the body that administers Al-Aqsa – the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

It comes after police approved the storming of Al-Aqsa at the instruction of far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

On Thursday, the first day of Ramadan, almost 300 extremists raided the compound.

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Under the status-quo agreement in place at Al-Aqsa, prayer at the site is reserved for Muslims. Members of other faiths may only visit.

Ben-Gvir, who on Friday said Jews "have the right" to go everywhere in Jerusalem, sparked international uproar after he stormed the Al-Aqsa compound in January.

As well as being the third-holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa Mosque is also the most-sacred Muslim place in Palestine.

Sunday's storming of the compound came after Israeli police took increased measures at the gates to the mosque, including preventing dozens from entering.

On Saturday night, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Qibli prayer hall within the compound, forcibly removing and assaulting worshippers. Three were arrested.

The head of the Islamic Supreme Committee in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrama Sabri, warned of a campaign against the mosque.

He told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the campaign began late on Saturday with the storming and desecration of the Al-Qibli prayer hall, urging a rally around Al-Aqsa and for a stronger defence of the site.

Lawyer Khaled Zabarqa said Muslims have a "purely legitimate and legal right" to perform 'itikaf' at Al-Aqsa, referring to the practice of staying in a mosque to focus on worship during a given period, particularly during Ramadan.

"It is not a favour from the occupation [Israel] and its extremist forces," he said.

The Al-Aqsa compound, like other Muslim and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, is often targeted by Jewish fundamentalists.