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With thousands of police deployed around the Temple Mount plaza and roadblocks slowing Jews from entering Jerusalem’s Old City, a senior Hamas terrorist managed to infiltrate tight security and enter the al-Aqsa mosque, where he called on Palestinian worshipers to attack Jews who attempt to ascend the Mount.
Israeli soldiers at Temple Mount plaza (photo: WND)
Hamas leader Hassan Yousef, a senior terrorist from the West Bank, was among the thousands of Islamic worshippers inside Al Aqsa this morning. An Israeli police spokesman said Yousef, who is over 40, snuck past security forces instructed to stop men in their teens, twenties and thirties.
Once inside, Yousef granted an interview to Al Jazeera, telling the Arab television network, “We call on Arab and Islamic nations and all people to immediately move to save the blessed al-Aqsa mosque. This is our soul, and a body can never live without a soul.”
Yousef urged followers to remain in the mosque throughout the day.
“We have announced there is an open sit-in. The battle will not end in hours or days. We have called on all our people in Jerusalem and the land occupied in 1948 to head towards al-Aqsa mosque,” he said.
Yousef was responding to a planned gathering of Jews by Revava, a Jewish group that hoped to bring thousands to ascend the Temple Mount to spark Israeli dialogue about reclaiming the holy site from its Muslim custodians.
Only about 200 Jewish demonstrators showed up to the Mount area, with most being barred from entering by Jerusalem police.
Security services arrested dozens of Ultra-Orthodox Jews who attempted to enter the Western Wall compound, the area adjacent to the Mount. Revava’s top leadership was arrested earlier, as well.
Meanwhile, thousands of Muslim worshipers were in the mosque, with Palestinian groups threatening immediate violence if any Jew ascended the Mount today.
A senior Israeli security source said the terrorist group Islamic Jihad is talking about using the Jewish protest of the Temple Mount as a provocation to renew attacks against Israelis.
Islamic Jihad issued a press release stating any “attack” on the Mount by “Jewish extremists” would explode the entire region and open an unprecedented confrontation with the “Zionist entity.”
Carmi Gilon, former head of the Shin Bet security service, said if there is such an attack, Israel would find itself at war with the entire Muslim world.
“Of all the means … of stopping disengagement, no doubt the Temple Mount is the doomsday weapon,” he told Israel Radio.
Revava had hoped to bring thousands of Jews to the Temple Mount today to spark Israeli dialogue about reclaiming the holy site from its Islamic custodians.
“This is a Jewish state, and it’s about time Jews are allowed to their holiest site to pray,” said Ha’ivri.
Jacob Novack, a Jew from New York who attended today’s rally, told WND, “It’s not right the police can let one of the biggest terrorists onto Mount, and yet they make a big deal about Jewish kids who are dancing outside the Mount entrance.”