Israeli police on Thursday detained a Palestinian security guard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, after the guard reportedly stepped in as an Israeli soldier “assaulted” a Palestinian child.
A report by a worshipers’ committee in Jerusalem said that Israeli police detained the guard, identified as Yahiya Biseileh, from the Council Gate entrance to the compound, after Biseileh “objected to an Israeli female soldier assaulting a Palestinian child while he was trying to enter the mosque.”
The report added that the guard was also assaulted by Israeli police and border guards during his detention.
Meanwhile, local sources told Ma’an that 55 Israeli settlers entered Al-Aqsa compound early Thursday from the Moroccan Gate under the protection of Israeli police forces.
The settlers toured the compound and attempted to perform prayers at the Golden Gate.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Following Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and subsequent annexation, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust not to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. However, non-Muslims are permitted to enter and visit the holy compound during designated hours.
Israeli forces nonetheless regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, who often times carry out prayers in an attempt to challenge the status quo at Al-Aqsa, leading to tensions with Palestinian worshipers.
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.