Al-Quds – In one of the gravest incursions in the occupied lands, dozens of Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli occupation forces and two ministers have raided Al-Aqsa mosque compound, clashing with Palestinians and injuring several.
“Ninety-three settlers protected by 40 Israeli police and special forces forced their way into the holy compound through the Al-Magharbeh Gate,” a guard, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, September 24.
The intruders were joined by Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, along with several Jewish extremist leaders.
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Protesting the raid, hundreds of Palestinian Muslims gathered near the Al-Qibali and the Dome of the Rock mosques, according to the guard.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces started to fire rubber bullets and teargases at the crowd, injuring many of them.
“At least 16 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, including one in the head and two in the abdomen. Around 45 others suffered teargas inhalation,” the guard said.
The tour of the two Israeli ministers in Al-Aqsa compound included passing by the Dome of the Rock, Qibali and Marawani mosques before leaving through the Al-Rahmeh Gate, Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani, the Palestinian director of the Al-Aqsa complex, revealed.
Al-Qiswani added that “Israeli police have stepped up security at the gates of the Al-Aqsa complex for the second day in a row, barring a number of Palestinians from entering the compound”.
“Except for the Al-Magharbeh Gate, where [Jewish] settlers regularly force their way into the complex, the Israeli police closed all other gates with chains,” al-Qiswani stated.
The raid coincided with Jews celebrations of Rosh Hashanah that marks the start of the new Jewish year 5775.
It came in response to earlier calls by Jewish extremists to storm Al-Aqsa mosque compound to practice Talmudic rituals.
Moreover, Israeli officials have ordered the closure of the Ibrahimi mosque to Muslims on Thursday and Friday, opening it to the Israeli settlers only who will be celebrating their new year.
The Jewish celebrations coincided with the start of Dhul-Hijjah month during which the hajj culminates.
Jordan has been supervising Al-Aqsa Mosque and other endowments in Al-Quds since 1948.
A 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel recognizes Jordan’s special supervisory role over holy sites in Al-Quds.
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra’a and Al Mi’raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).