JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- More than 100 newly recruited Israeli soldiers entered the al-Aqsa compound escorted by large numbers of police officers on Tuesday.
Eyewitnesses said more than 100 male and female recruits entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate and made stops across the compound listening to briefings by Israeli tour guides about the significance of the compound.
Separately, a group of settlers and employees of the Israeli telecommunication provider Bezeq also visited the compound earlier on Tuesday.
Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area.
Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is 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.
According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.