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Israel imposes ban on non-Muslims entering Al-Aqsa compound

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Israel has banned Jewish visitors and non-Muslim tourists from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, according to a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Tuesday.

A violent Israeli police raid on the site last week escalated tensions, amid allegations of rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria that were met with Israeli strikes. In previous years, Israel banned Jews from visiting the synagogue in the last ten days of Ramadan.

Recently, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog that tensions in the region must be eased and that Muslim worshipers should be able to practice i’tikaf, which involves seclusion in a mosque for the last ten days of Ramadan.

The Palestinians accuse Israel of systematically working to Judaize East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, and obliterating its Arab and Islamic identity.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the third holiest site in the world. For their part, Jews call the area the Temple Mount, saying that it was the site of two ancient Jewish temples.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move not recognized by the international community.

Every year, the Israeli forces intensify the policies of violence and oppression against the Palestinians during the month of Ramadan.

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