A far-right Israeli occupation lawmaker stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday morning under heavy police protection, local sources reported.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of Israel’s Knesset, paid a visit just days before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and against a backdrop of rising violence in Israel and Palestine.
Despite warnings that increased police-protected tours by settlers and far-right Israelis at al-Aqsa would lead to further confrontations, the occupation authorities permitted Ben-visit Gvir’s on Wednesday.
Ben-Gvir, who is linked with the radical Kahanist philosophy, referred to the Islamic Waqf, a Palestinian civilian agency that maintains the mosque, as “terrorists” during his trip.
On Thursday morning, a group of settlers entered al-Aqsa Mosque, taking part in “provocative tours” in its courtyards, according to the Waqf.
Despite efforts to de-escalate tensions, Israeli settler marches in al-Aqsa are planned for Ramadan, which coincides with Jewish holidays.
During the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied Jerusalem and annexed it in 1980, a move that was never recognized by the international community.
Far-right Israeli activists have regularly campaigned for a larger Jewish presence at the site, and some have even advocated for the destruction of the al-Aqsa Mosque in order to make space for a Third Temple.