PRIBUMI ONLINE, TANJUNG ENIM – Israeli troops have recently detained 7 guards at Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem in the past 24 hours, a Palestinian official said on Tuesday (28/03).
“Four other guards were arrested at their home at dawn on Tuesday,” said Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jordan-run Jerusalem Islamic Waqf Al-Jazeera. An organization responsible for overseeing Islamic sites in the city, quoted by Anadolu Agency.
“Three others were arrested on Monday (27/03) after they prevented a Jewish archaeologist from stealing an ancient stone from within the mosque,” he concluded.
Al-Dibs said the Jewish archaeologist was alleged to have tried twice to steal ancient stones under the protection of Israeli police, leading to clashes between Al-Aqsa Mosque guards and Israeli troops.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holy place in the world. While Jewish converts claimed the area as “Temple Mount” and referred to it as the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
In September 2000, Ariel Sharon’s visit of a controversial Israeli politician to Al-Aqsa sparked what became known as the “Intifada II” five-year Palestinian uprising in which thousands of Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.
Israel has occupied the East Jerusalem area where Al-Aqsa Mosque was established during the 1967 Middle East War. But officially, Israel annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state, in a move never recognized by the international community.