After Palestinians kept Israeli police out of Islam’s holiest mosques in Jerusalem, they returned to sites

JERUSALEM, Thursday, Few days after Palestinian worshippers and employees of the Muslim Waqf department, which is in charge of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, have blocked in a defiant act entry of an Israeli policeman wearing the Jewish kippah on his head into the Dome of Rock mosque in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a large number of Israeli police returned to the scene on Thursday and entered the Muslim holy mosques without interruption but in a show of disrespect to holy places, according to witnesses.

Waqf employees on Monday shut the gates to the Dome of the Rock, which sits on a hill in Al-Aqsa compound and adorned by a golden dome, when the Israeli policeman wearing the kippah attempted to enter it. The employees said the policeman violated standing orders at the site which do not allow non-Muslims from showing or performing any religious rituals inside the mosques.

As a result, police blocked entry into the Dome of the Rock mosque for Muslim worshippers seeking to perform the daily prayers, which created tension in the area and almost led to outbreak of violence as thousands of worshippers started gathering to break the siege police had imposed on the mosque. Police, who waited to arrest the employees who closed the gates, eventually evacuated the area after hours of standoff and the mosque’s doors were reopened for prayer without an incident.

According to the witnesses, Israeli police from the Special Forces entered the Dome of the Rock on Thursday and another underground mosque known as the Marawani apparently to prove that they are still in control despite of what happened days before.

The police then left the mosques without an incident, they said.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency