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Israel fixes times for MKs’ incursions at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli forces injure Palestinians with tear gas as they gather to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque following the removal of Israeli security measures in Jerusalem on 27 July 2017 [Mahmoud İbrahem/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli government has fixed the times for members of the Knesset (MKs) to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque, Quds Press reported on Wednesday.

The government made the move in response to a petition submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court by far-right MK Yehuda Gluck. The extremist parliamentarian has called on the court to overturn a ban on MKs’ and ministers’ incursions at the Noble Sanctuary.

When the Israeli government allowed extremist MKs to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque last month it was interpreted widely as a test to measure Palestinian and Arab reactions. It followed a ban imposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in October 2015 in an effort to reduce the tension triggered by Israeli settlers’ incursions at the mosque.

In March, Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had decided to end the ban after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He cancelled this decision when protests erupted after the installation of security gates and metal detectors at the sanctuary by the Israeli authorities.

Read: Israeli settlers’ groups calls for increasing raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque. 

According to Quds Press, Gluck and 32 extremist settlers raided Al-Aqsa Mosque in August under heavy police protection.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest place for Muslims around the world, although Jews claim the site as the location of the Temple of Solomon. A number of Jewish groups are planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and the iconic Dome of the Rock Mosque, and rebuild the temple in the sanctuary.

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