AFP 2016/ THOMAS COEX
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — More than 170 Jewish settlers on Wednesday stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, trying to perform religious Talmudic rituals there, the mosque director, Sheikh Omar Qiswani, said.
“Some 176 settlers, backed by Israeli special forces, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound since this morning. The Jewish settlers tried to perform Talmudic rituals near the Al-Qibali mosque and the Dome of the Rock but they were prevented from doing so by Muslim worshipers and the mosque guards,” Qiswani was quoted as saying by Anadolu news agency.
He added that the Israeli police forces arrested one of the mosque guards.
Muslims consider Al-Aqsa to be the world’s third holiest site, while the entire compound where the mosque is situated, the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism.
Relations between Israel and Palestine have been shattered for decades. Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements on the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.