Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the heavy escort of security forces at a time of boiling tensions over Tel Aviv’s siege of Islam’s third holiest site.
Footage circulated across social media on Monday showed the Israelis ambling around comfortably at the sensitive place as Palestinian worshipers squatted outside the compound.
Israeli forces also dispersed protesters staging a sit-in protest in front of the metal detectors the regime has set up at the entrance to restrict Palestinian access.
Israel fully closed off the compound to Muslims after a reported shootout on July 14 near the site that left two Israeli soldiers and three Palestinians dead. The move sparked far-and-wide condemnations across the Muslim world.
It restored access to the compound later, but placed metal detectors at its front, prompting Muslims to refuse entering the site.
Those participating in the sit-in include staffers of the al-Quds Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, which is trusted with controlling and managing the Islamic edifices on and around the compound. Israel evicted the staffers as part of its crackdown, and now the body says it has been fully incapacitated in exercising its duties.
The Israeli security forces regularly allow extremists to enter the compound under police protection, while restricting Palestinian access.
Amid the escalation, a footage has appeared online showing a female Palestinian youngster rolling out her prayer rug and wearing full-body veil before beginning to say her prayers close to one of the gates leading to the site.
Israeli violence in Nablus
Also on Monday, Israeli military forces raided the house of a former commander of al-Aqsa Brigades, an armed wing of the Palestinian Fatah movement, in the city of Nablus in the West Bank and detained the late official’s sister and her child.
Earlier, Israeli forces closed off the Huwara gate in the city, triggering clashes with Palestinian youths, which injured two of the protesters, and led to the arrests of two others.
Categories: Asia-Middle East Relations