Nearly 15,000 israelis stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2016: Group



Nearly 15,000 israelis have stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds since the beginning of 2016, an Islamic group says.

The group, the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, which controls and manages current Islamic edifices on and around the Haram esh-Sharif (Temple Mount), released the figure in a recent statement.

On Thursday, Mohammed al-Momani, the Jordanian state minister for media affairs and government spokesman, denounced any attempt by Israelis to storm or enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as illegal and an aggressive act against the Islamic holy site. He underlined Jordan’s determination to maintain the status quo at Al-Aqsa.

Momani’s remarks came in reaction to the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by 149 Israeli settlers on Thursday.

Temple Mount is also a site of worship by Jews. According to an agreement signed between the Tel Aviv regime and the Jordanian government — which administers Al-Aqsa Mosque — after Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967, visits to the compound by Israelis are permitted but non-Muslim worship is prohibited. Jordan is one of the only two Arab countries that have open diplomatic ties with Israel.

Muslims consider trespasses by Israelis into the Al-Aqsa Mosque as part of a provocative Israeli campaign. They say the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the demography of the holy city of al-Quds, where the mosque is located.

In August 2015, Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the compound, which is under the administration of Jordan, sparking a fresh wave of tensions with Palestinians.

Over the past decades, Tel Aviv has been trying to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds by constructing illegal settlements, destroying historical sites, and expelling the local Palestinian population.

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