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The Dome of the Rock is viewed at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City on 27 November 2014 in Jerusalem [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Report: 1,944 Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in February

Some 1,944 Jewish settlers stormed Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque in February, the Palestinian Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwan) revealed yesterday.

“The Israeli authorities have issued expulsion resolutions from Al-Aqsa and the Old City of Jerusalem against 133 Palestinians,” Silwan said in its monthly report, adding that the resolutions included prominent clerks, employees at the Jerusalem’s Department of Islamic Waqf (Religious Endowment), 17 minors, and 15 Palestinians.

The Palestinian centre pointed out that the Israeli attackers included 520 students of Jewish religious institutes and Hebrew universities, the Israeli agriculture minister Uri Ariel, and the extremist Israeli rabbi, Yehuda Glick.

The Israeli occupation forces, Silwan noted, stepped up violations inside Al-Aqsa’s compound, in an attempt to extinguish popular demonstrations which had been raged against the closure of the mosque’s Al-Rahma gate. The gate has been shut by the Israeli authorities for 16 years now.

“The occupation forces had arrested 229 Palestinians, 170 of whom were detained during the period between 18 and 28 February following the sit-ins at Al-Rahma gate,” the centre said, elaborating that the detainees included 43 minors and 12 children.

Silwan added that the arrests had included the head of the Muslim Waqf (Endowment) Council, Sheikh Abdul-Azim Salhab, the deputy director of Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs,  Sheikh Najeh Bkerat, as well as the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Jerusalem governor, Adnan Ghaith.

“The occupation authorities had also demolished 15 facilities Jerusalem in February, including seven structures that were demolished by their Palestinian owners after they were forced to do so by the Israeli municipality for allegedly not obtaining the required building permits,” the centre pointed out.

The report noted that the Israeli police forced Jerusalem’s prominent family, dubbed “Abu Assab,” to leave their home in the holy city – where they had been residing since 1952 – in favour of the illegal settlers.