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Israeli police chief blames ‘extremist agenda’ for tensions in Jerusalem

Inspector General of the Israeli police Yohanan Danino has criticised Israeli Knesset members who carry out provocations against Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Jews as Temple Mount, blaming them for the rising tensions over the past few months, Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

In a press conference held on Tuesday in the Israeli settlement of Sderot near the Gaza Strip, Danino said: “It is a mistake to allow right-wing MKs into [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound].”

He continued: “Anyone who wants to change the status quo at [Al-Aqsa Mosque] should not be allowed up there.” He criticised Israeli Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein for enabling right-wing politicians to “incite” Arab unrest by “visiting the disputed holy site”.

The police chief stressed that the Israeli right wing is intent upon changing the status quo in the holy city. “We realised after the elections that members of the radical right took [the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque] and made it an agenda,” he said.

He then warned: “We cautioned them and said that we need to leave [Al-Aqsa Mosque] alone … these Knesset members do not understand what they are igniting.”

Meanwhile, Israel Radio reported that the Israeli police have intensified security measures for three MKs in response to the tense security situation in occupied Jerusalem.

Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, one of these three, replied to Danino’s remarks on his Facebook page, saying that: “Danino failed to protect Jerusalem and ensure the security of the citizens, and is now trying to find a scapegoat and excuses for his failures.”

Feiglin regularly storms Al-Aqsa Mosque about once monthly, despite Jewish prohibitions against doing so. “This is the legal, moral, national and religious right of every Jew,” he insists.

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