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Israeli Police Attack Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli Police Attack Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Tuesday, 15 January, 2019 - 08:15
Israeli police preventing Muslim religious leaders and worshipers access to the Dome of the Rock. (Wafa)
Tel Aviv – Asharq Al-Awsat
Palestinian authorities closed Monday the Dome of the Rock after an Israeli policeman attempted to force his way into the site.

Israeli provocations continued until Palestinians clashed with occupation forces, which also physically assaulted Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, Imam of Aqsa Mosque, and besieged the Dome of the Rock mosque.
Tensions continued until the evening when the occupation forces withdrew.

The standoff began shortly after Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel toured the Mosque’s squares accompanied by scores of Jewish settlers guarded by a large force of heavily armed police.

Two Israeli officers then came to the Dome of the Rock for the daily search. One of them was wearing a Jewish Kippah and the guards asked him to take it off before entering the mosque, which he refused and attempted to force his way into the place, prompting the guards to close all the doors.

Head of the public relations office at the Islamic Endowment Department, Firas al-Dibs, indicated that, within their jurisdiction, Aqsa’s guards closed the doors of the mosque. He added that dozens of Israeli police forces besieged the mosque and prevented worshipers, imams, sheikhs, and employees of the Department from entering.

As a result, hundreds of worshipers came to al-Aqsa Mosque and held Dhuhr and Asr prayer in the courtyard. The worshipers then protested closing the mosque and a number of imams and elders came to the place including Imam of Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani. The soldiers prevented them by force and special forces assaulted Sheikh Kiswani.

Tension grew and some worshipers clashed with the police. Later, in the afternoon, police ended their siege and withdrew from the Mosque.

Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yousef Adaibis, condemned the violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, its squares and its facilities, by the Israeli occupation police.

He described the incident as an “assault on the feelings of Muslims and their holy sites.”

“These are immoral practices that create more religious incitement inside and outside of Jerusalem,” he said. He also accused Israel of working toward “dividing al-Aqsa Mosque in time and space” between Muslims and Jews.

The Minister called on the international community to restrain Israeli occupation from continuing with such violations and attacks.

The Palestinian Unity Government issued a statement condemning the brutal attack on Sheikh Kiswani and the siege of the Mosque by the occupying forces. It added that this attack falls within “the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation government against Jerusalem and holy sites.”

Government Spokesman, Yousef al-Mahmoud, stressed that the government urges Arab, Islamic, and the governments of the world to take serious action in all international forums and work to end Israeli occupation’s attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and Islamic and Christian holy sites.

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