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Israel minister pledges to keep Al-Aqsa open for Jewish settlers

In the wake of the latest armed incursions by Israeli forces at the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has pledged to keep the compound in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City open to Jewish settlers, local media reported on Sunday.

“My policy since my first day in office has been to do everything in order that the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa] will be open to whoever wants to visit it, most definitely on an important day like today,” Erdan told reporters before of the weekly cabinet meeting. He thanked the Israeli police for “doing everything” to secure the incursions by the settlers and said that the arrests of Muslim worshippers were “based on intelligence”.

Safa news agency reported that around 1,600 Jewish settlers, heavily protected by Israeli security forces, entered Al-Aqsa to mark the anniversary of occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Israelis call this anniversary “Jerusalem Day”. Jewish religious authorities have traditionally banned Jews from entering the sanctuary in case they enter what they believe might be the site of the “Holy of Holies” unknowingly whilst ritually impure. This ruling appears to be ignored by the Zionists today.

READ: Clashes erupt at Al-Aqsa compound after settler ‘tour’ 

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