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Israeli minister storms Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (C) is seen at the Al-Aqsa compound after he and dozens of Israeli settlers forced their way into the flashpoint compound in Jerusalem on November 18, 2018. ( JERUSALEM ISLAMIC WAQF / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency )
Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (C) is with Israeli settlers after they stormed Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem on 18 November 2018 [Jerusalem Islamic Waqf/Anadolu Agency]

Israel's Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel joined scores of settlers who stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning.

Israeli occupation forces who accompanied the settlers allowed into the Muslim holy site through the Mughrabi Gate which is under the occupation's control.

The first group of settlers entered the site at 7:30am for the first time since the Mughrabi Gate was closed on Monday after more than 1,700 settlers storm the area on Sunday in an effort to disrupt Palestinians marking the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha.

Israel violently cracked down on Muslim worshippers visiting Al-Aqsa for Eid Al-Adha prayers. At least 65 Palestinians were injured by Israel Police – which Erdan's ministry oversees – on Sunday after officers shot rubber bullets and teargas into the crowds and used truncheons to beat worshippers.

READ: Over 1,700 settlers storm the Al-Aqsa mosque 

Over 1,700 Jewish settlers also stormed the compound under the protection of Israeli police officers, a "record" number in a single day.

Palestinian organisations in Jerusalem on Friday announced they would close all mosques in the city in a bid to encourage Muslim worshippers to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa and protect it from settler raids, after extremist groups – which advocate rebuilding the ancient Jewish Temple on the site – called for storming Al-Aqsa Mosque and conducting Jewish prayers on the compound, both to mark Tisha B'Av and disrupt Eid rituals.

Last month alone, Israeli forces raided Al-Aqsa and Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque 75 times, changing access regulations for Palestinians almost on a daily basis and routinely expelling worshippers from the holy sites.

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