Hundreds of Israeli Jewish settlers yesterday raided Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City and thousands raided the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, Wafa news agency reported.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Glick led the Jewish settlers to Al-Aqsa Mosque and performed Talmudic rituals, marking the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur or Atonement Day.
In Hebron, Israeli occupation forces prevented the Palestinians from entering the Ibrahimi Mosque to allow the thousands of settlers who raided the Muslim holy site.
Settler raids of Islamic sites have been on the increase over the past few years with Palestinians warning that Israel is planning to spatially and temporally split Al-Aqsa Mosque to allow constant Jewish access to the site.
The Ibrahimi Mosque, believed to be the burial place of the Prophet Abraham, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and has been the site of oft-violent tensions for decades.
The holy site was split into a synagogue – known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs – and a mosque after US-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994.
The Israeli occupation “expropriated” large areas of the Ibrahimi Mosque and allocated it for Jewish use only following the 25 February 1994 massacre of Muslim worshippers by a settler. US-born Israeli Baruch Goldstein walked into the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron armed with a Galil assault rifle.
Goldstein opened fire at the hundreds of Muslim worshippers who were at the mosque during Ramadan, the month of fasting. He reloaded at least once, continuing his barrage for as long as possible before finally being overpowered and eventually beaten to death. By the time he was stopped, 29 worshippers were killed, and more than a hundred had been injured.
In response, Israeli occupation forces set up a “closed military zone” around the mosque, restricting Muslim access to it, and “annexed” a large area of it for settler use.