Israelis enter al-Aqsa on first day of Ramadan, chant anti-Arab slogans

Christian Orthodox priests walks in front of parasols placed outside the Dome of Rock, at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third most holy site, in the old city of Jerusalem on 8 July 2013 in preparation for the upcoming Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. (Photo: AFP - Ahmad Gharabli)

Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dozens of Israelis escorted by police forces entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a Palestinian official said.

Close to 100 Israelis entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate, Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the PA Ministry of Endowment, told Ma’an news agency.

The group, accompanied by rabbis, chanted anti-Arab slogans, witnesses said.

Al-Khatib said Israeli police had rejected a request to stop the visits during Ramadan.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an he was not aware of the request.

Rosenfeld said Jewish and Christian visitors regularly enter the compound in coordinated visits.

Witnesses told Ma'an that the Israeli visitors tried to enter the Dome of the Rock, which is not an agreed part of their tour.

Muslim worshippers and Islamic students chanted to express their rejection to the visitors, witnesses said.

Israeli soldiers and tourists regularly enter the mosque, often assaulting believers or desecrating the site.

Meanwhile, Muslims under the age of 50 are regularly denied access to al-Aqsa, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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