JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Dozens of Israelis raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon, according to the Islamic Endowment (Waqf), the organization in charge of managing the compound.
Rami al-Khatib, a spokesperson for the Waqf, said that 64 ultra-Orthodox Israelis entered the Muslim holy site and attempted to perform Jewish prayers.
Al-Khatib added that Israeli forces evacuated five Israelis who attempted to pray at the compound.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that police officers stopped five Jewish suspects for questioning after they “breached the rules” in effect during Jewish visits to Al-Aqsa.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.