Over 600 Israeli extremists storm Al-Aqsa Mosque during Jewish Passover holiday

Over 600 Israeli extremists storm Al-Aqsa Mosque during Jewish Passover holiday
Among those storming the Al-Aqsa mosque were extremist Israeli politicians, one of them from Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud party
2 min read
28 April, 2024
Israeli extremists often storm the Al-Aqsa compound in a bid to provoke Palestinians [Getty/file photo]

Over 600 Israeli extremists stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem early on Sunday, the Islamic Endowment Department which runs the holy site said.

The storming coincided with the sixth day of the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover,

The extremists performed Talmudic rituals in the mosque's courtyards under the protection of Israeli forces, the department said.

Video clips shared online showed the extremists entering the site, considered the third holiest in Islam.

Many prominent extremist Israeli figures participated in the incursion, including former Knesset member and Orthodox rabbi Yehuda Glick, and Amit Halevi, a member of the ruling Likud party.

American-born Glick is known as a far-right activist for "the expansion of Jewish access" to the Al-Aqsa compound, and is a founder of the HaLiba coalition group which is known for provoking Muslims at the holy site and advocates for building a Jewish temple there.

In June 2023, Halevi proposed a bill to divide the al-Aqsa mosque compound, between Muslims and Jews. In July of that year, the Likud MK was seen storming Al-Aqsa in another settler incursion.

The settlers reportedly carried out their provocative acts at the mosque’s Bab al-Rahma and Bab al-Qattanin gates.

Additionally, Israeli police increased their presence at the compound, Al Jazeera Arabic said. Police forces set up military checkpoints inside the Old City and at the gates of the mosque, and imposed entry restrictions on Palestinian worshipers.

Throughout Passover, which began on Monday, Jewish settlers have led incursions into the compound. On Thursday, over 1,600 settlers stormed the compound, Al Jazeera said – the highest number since Israel’s deadly war on Gaza began on October 7.

Israeli extremists have frequently stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque in recent years, under the protection of security forces. Some seek to demolish the mosque and build a Jewish temple in its place while others say they wish to divide it between Muslims and Jews. 

Their attacks on the site have led to increased conflict and tension, with Hamas naming its October 7 attack on Israel "Al-Aqsa Flood" and saying it was in response to the stormings.

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Prayer at the compound, located in the Old City in occupied east Jerusalem, is exclusively reserved for Muslims, under a long-standing status quo agreement.

Over 700,000 Israeli settlers live in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, and they often subject Palestinians to harassment, vandalism and violence.