Israeli Security Minister Visits Al Aqsa Mosque

Tue Jan 03 2023
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Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD/ JERUSALEM: Israel’s far-right security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited a compound that houses the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, the flashpoint holy site sacred to both Jews and Muslims.

Security minister Ben-Gvir 

The Ynet news website carried images of Ben-Gvir’s visit to the holy site under heavy security on Tuesday.

Israel’s opposition leader and ex-prime minister Yair Lapid warned that such a controversial visit by Ben-Gvir would spark violence and backlash.

Only Muslim worship is allowed at the compound, Islam’s third holy site after Mecca and Medina, and Judaism’s most sacred as a relic of its two ancient temples.

Earlier, Ben-Gvir cancelled the visit to Al Aqsa after a telephone call with Benjamin Netanyahu, who just retook the government reins as the prime minister.

Ben-Gvir’s visit was kept secret and in coordination with police, according to Israeli media.

The visit risks a backlash from Palestinians who have termed the move an “unprecedented provocation”.

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns the storming of Al-Aqsa mosque by the extremist minister Ben-Gvir and views it as an unprecedented provocation and a dangerous escalation of the conflict.”

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