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Palestine condemns Israeli settlers for breaking into Al-Aqsa Mosque compoundBreaking

August 29, 2022

RAMALLAH, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian foreign ministry on Sunday condemned Israeli settlers for breaking into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through a gate that Palestinian media said was "solely used by Muslims" in the Old City of Jerusalem.

   This is the first time that the Israeli police have allowed settlers to enter the Islamic holy site through the Lions' Gate, one of the gates leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to an earlier report by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

   "This unprecedented step is a blatant violation of the Mosque's status quo," said a ministry statement.

   "We hold the Israeli government directly and fully responsible for the consequences and ramifications of its aggression against Jerusalem and its Islamic holy sites, particularly the Al-Aqsa Mosque," the statement added.

   The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is regarded by Muslims as their third holiest site and Jews their holiest. Israel even considers the entire city of Jerusalem as its "indivisible capital."

   "Storming Al-Aqsa Mosque today is a violation of the agreements signed between Israel and Jordan concerning the Mosque's affairs," Sheikh Omar Kiswani, director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, told WAFA.

   The Al-Aqsa Mosque is exclusively supervised by the Jordan-run Department of the Jerusalem Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs.

   Since 2003, the Israeli authorities have allowed settlers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on an almost daily basis except Friday, the Muslim day of prayers, according to WAFA.

   Israel occupied Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the 1967 Middle East war, in a move that has never been recognized by most of the international community.