Israeli statistics revealed on Sunday that 2016 witnessed the most Israeli raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque since East Jerusalem was occupied 50 years ago, Safa news agency has reported. The figures showed that such raids increased by at least 250 per cent over the past seven years; 5,658 Israelis are reported to have raided the mosque in 2009, whereas last year's figure stands at more than 14,000.
Extreme right-wing Israeli organisations claim that the reasons for the increase include better arrangements and a "quieter" situation compared to the previous year. They pointed out that Palestinian groups which have been trying to protect the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa have been "delegitimised" by the Israeli government, including the Sharia Schools inside Al-Aqsa itself and the Islamic Movement in Israel.
The statistics quoted do not include raids by Jewish students and the Israeli security services, either plain clothes or military. As such, Safa explained, there is a big difference between the statistics claimed by Israel and those collated by Palestinian sources. Quds Press for example, has reported that the number of Israelis who raided Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2016 was 17,602, an increase of 310 per cent compared to 2009.