Pictures: 532 settlers break into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Jewish Passover holiday
April 26, 2016

Hundreds of settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Jewish Passover holiday while dozens of them performed their religious rituals under heavy protection by the occupation Special Forces.

Since Sunday, first days of Passover, and until Tuesday (three days), 532 settlers broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa through Dung Gate in the form of consecutive groups; Dung Gate has been controlled by the Israeli authorities since the occupation of Jerusalem. Settlers carried out full tours in Al-Aqsa courtyards starting from the courtyard of Dung Gate and passing through Al-Qibali and Al-Marwani Mosques and the area of Al-Rahmeh Gate and then walking behind the Dome of the Rock before exiting from Al-Silsileh Gate; they were heavily protected by Israeli forces that were stationed in Al-Aqsa courtyards and at its gates.

During the settlers’ tour, many of them attempted to perform their religious rituals but were confronted by the guards of Al-Aqsa and Al-Awqaf employees forcing the police to evacuate them; some managed to perform their rituals in the courtyards especially on Tuesday. Israeli police assaulted the guards and beat them while protecting settlers.

The police arrested three of the Islamic Awqaf department’s employees, they are: Ahmad Bader, Basem Zghayar and Mohannad Ansari. Bader and Zghayar were released after several hours of interrogation on condition of isolating them from Al-Aqsa Mosque for two weeks while Ansari was released unconditionally.

The Israeli forces also arrested Islam Khalaf from the area of Hutta Gate.