The Al-Aqsa Mosque complex was most frequently raided in 2019 by Jewish settlers, according to the Cairo-based Al-Azhar University.
The university's observation unit of the fight against extremism stated in a report, "Violations toward the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was raided by 30,416 occupants under Israeli police protection in 2019, have reached a record level."
The report further underlined that raids and gradual occupation could not be accepted and that "Zionism is part of a policy to Judaize occupied Palestine."
Most recently 407 Israeli settlers raided the Islamic holy site in mid-December, according to a report released by the Palestine Information Centre last week.
The area which Al-Aqsa is built upon is referred to as Temple Mount by the Jews. It is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a flashpoint issue, with Palestinians fearing Israel may one day seek to assert further control over the site. It is located in east Jerusalem, which was annexed in 1980 by Israeli forces under the claim that the city serves as the capital of the Jewish state, a move never recognized by the international community. It is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina and is the most sacred site in Judaism. Jews are allowed on the premises to visit but not to pray, to avoid provoking tensions.
Muslims believe that the first qiblah, the direction which Muslims turn to during prayers, was Al-Aqsa until it was designated as Mecca. Moreover, the existence of the Qubbat-us Sahra within the compound makes it more special as it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad started his spiritual journey to the heavens (miraj) from there.
Since Israel occupied Jerusalem in 1967, the conflict has continued between Palestinians and Israelis, as the latter believe that the holy temple of Solomon is beneath the mosque. There are several rumors claiming that some Israelis were digging tunnels to reach the temple's ruins.
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