Settlers Break into Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque

JERUSALEM, February 28, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Wednesday broke into al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, provoking tension with worshipers, according to local sources.

WAFA correspondent said dozens of settlers accompanied by a police escort entered the compound and toured throughout the Islamic site, provoking tension with worshipers, who reacted to the settlers’ entry by chanting religious slogans.

This came as Israeli police continued to deny entry of more than 60 Palestinian women and outdoor students to the compound, which is the third holiest place for Muslims.

Since the beginning of October 2015, tension has been running high across the West Bank, including Jerusalem and Gaza, against the backdrop of Israel’s repeated assaults on the mosque, including its attempts to unilaterally enforce a temporal division of the site between Muslims and Jews.

Prior to unrest in early October, the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor pointed out in a report that Israeli incitement and violations against Arabs in Jerusalem have increased dramatically in 2015.

The report, titled “Fire under the Ashes: Provoking Muslims in Jerusalem,” warned that Israeli incitement against Muslims could trigger a conflict that would likely result in disastrous consequences.

“Among the provocative acts documented by Euro-Med researchers against Palestinians in Jerusalem were performance of Talmudic prayers near Muslim worshippers, beating, throwing rubbish, cursing, death threats and preventing worshippers from reaching the mosque,” the report said.