135 right-wing Israelis stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound this morning under a heavy police presence, while ultra nationalist parliament member Yehuda Glick performed prayers outside the holy site's gates.
Firas al-Dibs, spokesman for the Islamic Waqf Department, which controls Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, told Ma'an that some 135 Israeli "settlers" entered the compound in the morning, during visitation periods when non-Muslims are permitted to enter the site.
Far-right member of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, Yehuda Glick performed prayers outside Al-Aqsa's Cotton Merchants gate, under the protection of Israeli police.
Glick,¬†who is not permitted to enter the compound, had also¬†visited it last week in order to protest the ban preventing Knesset members from accessing the compound for the past year and a half.
While non-Muslims are permitted to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during specific times during the day, non-Muslim worship is strictly prohibited at the site as per an international agreement between Jordan and Israel following Israel's takeover of the territory in 1967. ¬†However, Israeli visits to the compound, which
However, Israeli visits to the compound, which often times include Israelis performing prayers in violation of the longstanding agreement, can cause tensions with Palestinian worshippers, as the Israeli presence is seen as a threat to the status quo at the site. ¬†Many Palestinians and rights groups fear that right-wing groups calling for the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque to make way for a third Jewish temple are gaining growing influence in Netanyahu's right-wing government.