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Over 1,000 Israeli Settlers Storm Aqsa Compound under Police Protection | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the Israeli security forces walk past the al-Aqsa Compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on July 27, 2017. (AFP)

Tel Aviv – Thousands Jews arrived on Tuesday to Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall to commemorate the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’av. Under intensified police protection, hundreds of far-right religious Israelis were able to enter the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.

Tisha B’Av notably commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temple, which Jews believe were located where the Aqsa Compound now stands.

About 13,000 settlers were at the West Wall and police allowed 1,263 to enter the Aqsa Compound and some even tried to pray. Police said that six people were ejected from the area for violating the site’s rules for non-Muslim visitors, which include a prohibition on prayer, while four people were arrested.

Islamic Endowment (Waqf) spokesman Firas al-Dibs stated that 870 Israeli Jews had entered the compound in large groups under heavy military protection between 7 and 11 a.m., adding that several Israelis had performed Jewish religious rites in the compound.

Israeli police spokeswoman said in a statement that thousands of Jewish worshipers had congregated at the Wailing Wall overnight for religious rituals amidst heavy police presence. She also added that three Israeli Jews and a Palestinian Muslim were also detained after a heated argument between them turned into a physical fight outside of Aqsa’s Chain Gate.

Right wing groups, including the so-called “Temple organizations” called on settlers to participate in the mass incursions into the mosque despite the recent tensions.

Groups of settlers arrived hoisting Israeli flags and arrived at the al-Asbat Gate where Knesset member Yehuda Glick delivered a speech.

The Fatah movement warned the Israeli government that its encouragement of the continuous incursions of settlers at al-Aqsa is an “extension” of Zionist extremism.

Fatah also pointed out that attempts to divide the holy site is dangerous and will lead to uncontrollable repercussions. It reiterated that the Israeli plots in Aqsa will “inevitably turn the political conflict into a religious one.”

The movement held the Israeli government completely responsible for any consequences that result from its policy.