Right-wing Jewish group tours Aqsa compound
Published Sunday 30/03/2014 (updated) 31/03/2014 12:56
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A Jewish group entered Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday, witnesses said.
Locals told Ma'an that 19 Israeli Jews entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate and exited through the Chain Gate under the guard of Israeli police officers.
Groups of Muslim worshipers chanted "Allahu Akbar" as the group passed them.
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 the 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.