Ma’an News Agency | – –
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police arrested two right-wing Jewish Israelis on Tuesday after they attempted to sneak into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound disguised as Muslims, locals and Israeli police said.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that midday Tuesday Israeli police officers suspected two young men approaching the King Faisal gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The officers approached the two for inspection, who said they were Muslims heading to the Al-Aqsa mosque. The officers checked their identification documents to reveal that they were 21-year-old Jewish Israelis.
They were arrested and taken to al-Qishla police station in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City for questioning, al-Samri added.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque.
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.
Following Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area.
Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, however, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.