Dozens of extremist Jewish settlers broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, today, guarded by Israeli police, local WAFA sources have reported.
Around 330 Israeli settlers entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate, which leads to the Al-Buraq Wall plaza, inside the Old City of Jerusalem.
Today’s incursion into theÂ compound is not the first time Israeli settlers have entered the area under heavy Israeli police protection.
Settlers regularly enter the area, and often perform Jewish prayers on the site, which is where they believe the Second Temple once stood.
Some right-wing Israeli activists have advocated for the destruction of the compound, to make way for a Third Temple.
Increasingly, these activists have sought to build support for an increased Jewish presence at the site, despite a longstanding, joint guardianship agreement between Israel and Jordan, which retains control over Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. It was also Islam’s first Qibla, the direction towards which Muslims must turn to pray, before that was changed to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, and continues into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.