Dozens of extremist Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on Monday, October 12, under heavy police protection.
The Jewish settlers reportedly recited Talmudic Jewish prayers while walking all around the mosque compound, according to the Waqf authority. Later in the day, a group of people from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also broke into the compound as part of a normalization tour following the UAE-Israel normalization agreement last year, also known as the Abraham Accords.
According to news reports, over 130 extremist Jewish settlers entered the mosque compound through the Damascus Gate in the early hours of the morning during the morning prayers. The Emiratis entered from the Huta gate and exited from the al-Asbat gate, also accompanied by a police escort. During both these incidents, the Israeli police forcibly evacuated the Palestinian worshipers from the compound.
The raids on Monday follow a similar such raid over the weekend. Local news media reported that 63 extremist settlers broke into the mosque compound on Sunday morning under heavy police protection. Palestinian eyewitnesses reported that the settlers performed Jewish prayers and rituals inside the mosque compound in violation of the agreement between Israel and the Jordan-run Islamic Waqf which operates the mosque. The settlers reportedly also chanted anti-Islamic slogans during their invasion, leading to clashes with the Palestinian worshipers.
Settler invasions into the Al-Aqsa mosque compound have become increasingly frequent over the years as Israel tries to assert control over the area by increasing Jewish presence and visits. Extremist and fanatical religious Jews have regularly demanded the total demolition of the mosque.
Meanwhile, an Israeli court last week revoked a ruling by a lower magistrate’s court which allowed silent Jewish prayers to be performed inside the Al-Aqsa mosque. The lower court’s decision had been met with widespread anger and outrage. Palestinians as well as many in the international community, including the Jordanian government and the regional Arab League, had condemned it.