The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Uri Ariel, attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem yesterday.
Firas al-Dhibes, head of the media and media department of the Islamic Institute (Waqf), said that Ariel, along with dozens of Israeli settlers, stormed the Al-Aqsa compound under heavy Israeli protection.
Al-Dhibes also noted that Ariel, together with the Israeli settlers, had broken through the Moroccan gate and had toured the compound "provocatively". He added that a large number of Israeli forces had been deployed throughout the compound.
It should be noted that Ariel already attacked the compound in September.
The number of Israeli Knesset members on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has grown in recent months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift the ban on Israeli Knesset members from visiting the compound every three months.
Netanyahu allowed the Knesset members, most of them from the far right, to support the demolition of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, to visit the al-Aqsa compound once every three months.
After Netanyahu lifted the ban, Palestinian Authority spokesman Yusuf al-Mahmoud spoke of the decision to lift the ban as a "serious provocation" and "encouraging encouragement for one of the holy sites of Islam."
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located just above the Western Wall plaza, includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The third holiest site in Islam, it is also dedicated as the holiest site of Judaism, since it sits in a place where Jews believe that the First and Second Temples once stood. During a Jewish visit to the compound, Muslim worship in Al-Aqsa is forbidden under an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.